The World Needs Your Gen Z Child’s Ideas
By Tracy Murch
Is her school giving her the tools she needs to be a global citizen?
Children of Generation Z are wired to care about the world.
These students, from ages 2 to 20, have appetites that are relevant and worldly. Especially when in a supportive academic environment, they will mine pathways and scale walls to make better the lives of those who live up the street—and across the world.
Parents who place their children in the right learning environments are giving them the opportunities they need to take on the kind of responsibilities children inherently seek.
If your child’s school is offering these opportunities, you’ll see curriculum that frames lessons to include big global ideas. Your child’s teachers will guide and inspire as they teach. You will also see learning moments conceived, conducted, and enhanced by the student, himself. Your globally conscious student will engage intuitively because she doesn’t see this assignment as school work, but rather, a mission. When teachers tap into the academic pursuits young learners find valuable, Lower School students dive in and drive their learning because it means something to them.
Picture fifth-graders, for example, participating in a brainstorming session designed to answer the question, “What are you worried about?” Their answers would immediately become fodder for rich, problem-solving projects.
Or imagine a group of third-graders building terrariums. Their eyes may be fixed on an upcycled gallon milk jug, fingers meticulously placing a small skipper rock that serves as a scaled-down boulder in their creation.
While they busily place pint-size objects onto the bed of soil they have laid, your child is designing a model for a sustainable garden that could be built in a food desert across town, an impoverished fishing village abroad, or in a city neighborhood where people are empowered to grow their own food. A discussion around agronomy and soil chemistry emerges because students feel their learning has a human purpose.
The discussion may then extend into a word problem on square-foot gardening or a lesson on Ohio topography. While she is lost in research, a true learning experience will emerge, allowing your child to take an academically intentional, socially focused step toward helping others in our world.
With the right, supportive learning environment, young students will take on big global problems because they will feel supported to take the time needed to unravel a problem and fix it. With the proper exposure, they will know, early on, that learning is not just about understanding; it’s about their responsibility to others.
Tracy Murch is Head of the Lower School on The Seven Hills School Doherty Campus in Cincinnati, Ohio. A world traveler, prolific educator, and visionary leader, she most recently held the position of Head of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation Pre-K-12 at GEMS Dubai American Academy and Elementary Principal at GEMS Nations Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.