Change It — Children and Choice

I am constantly telling my class that they are the future. They will take care of us when we are ill, teach our grandchildren, invent reliable transport to other planets, find sources of energy that don’t cost the earth and, most important of all — pay my pension!

What better way, then, to inspire the future of the country, than to get them fired up about what is being done to our planet, to the place we call home. Using A Tale Unfolds’ ‘Change It’ project, the children switched from apathetic to angry overnight. They were incensed by the sheer wastefulness of our society, outraged by the general lack of thought of consumers and determined to be the difference.

Inspiring these young minds was a topic which has been extensively covered in the media — plastic pollution. Every child had seen it on television at some point over the past couple of months but each and every one had let it wash over them. Until now. By carrying out research into how much actual waste occurs each day and how much accumulated plastic there is in the world, these children wanted to do something. They were inspired to write. And write they did.

As a collective, the children decided to write to local and national coffee houses, asking them to promote the use of reusable coffee cups by offering incentives to customers. Yes, this idea is out there, yes there are plans in place to ban single use plastics but, do you know what? It. Doesn’t. Matter.

What matters is that children, the future of our society, have been inspired to care enough to stop passively letting things happen to them and start actively making change. They were encouraged by the Straws Suck petition on Change.Org as they understood that children were able to influence and inspire others. They were buoyed by stories of other schools’ exploits, media coverage and doggedness and saw how their efforts were not in vain. They were able to understand that one person, no matter how small, can be a catalyst for change and they felt empowered.

Did they produce great writing? Yes. They penned fabulous balanced arguments, used emotive vocabulary, quieted the grammar monster with colons, clauses and rhetorical questions but that seemed a by-product of the real success — children understanding how influential and important their voices can be. If it helps them next year to tick boxes in their SATs, then that’s ok. But it isn’t the true value of this lesson, not by a long stretch.

Find out more about the Key Stage 2 literacy project, Change It, by clicking here.