Why Your Kids Should Learn about Global Citizenship at an Early Age 

Global citizenship education isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when we think of early childhood learning. After all, young children aren’t even necessarily cognisant of ideas like countries or international connectedness. Indeed, mainstream school systems the world over are far more likely to emphasise concepts like reading and maths during a child’s early stages of development. 

However, a few Singapore-based schools like Kinderland have long been teaching kids how to be good global citizens, with great results. Such internationally-focused approaches have shown some very surprising benefits, not just for children’s values but also for their long-term academic performance.

Let’s look at the many positive skills and values that younger children can learn through frameworks like Kinderland’s global curriculum: 

1) Cultural Awareness and Respect 

As mentioned earlier, very young children may not have the experience and cognition needed to process complex ideas like culture. However, they can learn that differences between them and other people have to be approached with respect and a positive attitude. The early normalization of such values can help kids develop a balanced sense of cultural awareness and a mindset that prioritizes inclusivity and empathy—which are things that they will take with them well into their adult lives. 

2) Interconnectedness and Interdependence 

Once children begin embracing a broader, more respectful view of other cultures, it becomes easier for them to think beyond their immediate families and communities. This is an important concept to understand even for adults, given the interconnectedness of the modern world. As children continue to develop their understanding of wider relationships between countries and cultures, they can begin to more easily grasp why we all need to work together for a better world.

3) Promoting Social Justice and Human Rights 

Global citizenship is meant to instil values in people around the world related to social justice and human rights. Though adults may think that kids are too young to learn about the importance of fairness, equality, and justice on a global scale, this actually isn’t the case.  

Early knowledge of human rights and how to uphold them will motivate kids to advocate for positive change and to stand up against discrimination and injustice. At a more immediate level, this approach to education can help kids better appreciate the multiculturalism present within their own communities.

4) Global Viewpoints That Aid Academics and Problem-Solving 

Inculcating tolerance and an understanding of wider global contexts can give children a more solid grounding in their other lessons. For instance, stories about justice and environmental damage can become more real to younger kids, offering them more than just a cursory view of the world’s most pressing issues. When they grow older, their grasp of wider contexts can translate into stronger critical thinking, ultimately aiding their academic performance in their later years. 

The problem-solving benefits don’t stop at academics, either. Children who learn about global citizenship early also learn about the importance of cooperating with others, even if they come from different cultures. You can see these globally oriented values in action on Kinderland’s YouTube channel. 

5) Digital Literacy and Global Communication 

Early exposure to global communities helps children develop true digital literacy skills that go beyond basic tech use. Very young children (and even some adults) may not necessarily realise that the World Wide Web is made up of individuals from different cultures and backgrounds, and they need to learn about good global citizenship to be respectful netizens as well. With a broader, more culturally aware perspective, children can grow up better prepared for communicating productively in any online avenue.

6) Environmental Stewardship 

Nature gives little regard for man-made concepts, and challenges like environmental degradation transcend international borders. Early education on global citizenship may help children frame these heavy issues in a more constructive way that acknowledges everyone’s burdens and responsibilities.  

As children develop their inquiring minds, this education can help them form the values necessary to engage in meaningful environmental activism. Later on, the values they develop can deepen and inform their day-to-day decisions as adults. 

 7) An Appreciation for Lifelong Learning 

No curriculum in the world can teach your child everything they need to know. However, choosing a school that advocates for meaningful values, like global citizenship, can help your child avoid the pitfalls of willful ignorance as they grow older.  

When children know that there’s a whole world of ideas and perspectives out there, they may become all the more motivated to learn about the world around them. In this way, early global citizenship education can be the nucleus for a lifelong love of knowledge. 

It takes more than a preschool education to form your children into productive, culturally aware individuals. Aside from choosing the right school, you’ll want to be active at nurturing global citizenship in your child as a parent, caregiver, role model, and fellow continuous learner. Demonstrating tolerance, cultural awareness, and empathy in your own daily life is, by far, the best way to ingrain these values in your child. Pair a globally-sensitive early education with a home life that emphasizes kindness and understanding for all, and your child will be able to practice good global citizenship even before they become an adult.  


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