Teaching children to become “global citizens”
Envisioning Washington State in 2025 and Beyond
From Education for Sustainable Communities, under the “E3 Comprehensive Plan” – Item #4 discusses what children will be learning to become good “global citizens”:
Educated, Skilled Individuals
Achieving and sustaining a durable economy, strong communities, and sustainable use of natural resources requires a well-educated population with the skills and knowledge to make good decisions based on the requirements of a healthy society, environment, and economy – decisions based on the well-being of future generations. To equip our residents for a thriving future, education in Washington focuses on providing all students with the skills, experiences, and academic foundation to understand and successfully operate within complex systems, from the ecology of their local environment to the global economy. Lifelong learning encourages appreciation and respect for the natural world, a strong sense of community, and an awareness of how we are connected to one another, other species, and the natural resources upon which we all depend.
During the 18 E3 regional summits held across Washington, local and regional representatives including tribal, business, early childhood and K-20 education, governmental, nongovernmental, civic-community, military, and faith-based leaders brainstormed and discussed the necessary knowledge, values, and skills attributes of Washington’s current and future residents.
Through these sessions, four broad characteristics emerged that define the people equipped to create Washington in 2025 and beyond.
As life-long, life-wide and life-deep learners, they:
- Welcome new ideas
- Seek new knowledge
- Makes informed decisions
As community contributors, they:
- Lead a healthy, responsible lifestyle
- Support well-being and diversity of others
- Contribute time and resources
As global citizens, they:
- Understand how natural and human systems interact
- Respect interdependence of life on earth
- Solve problems collaboratively
As co-creators of tomorrow, they:
- Embrace diversity, change, and communication
- Choose life-affirming values
- Pursue innovative productivity
To help develop each of these characteristics, regional leaders wanted to raise the bar in schools and help all students excel academically through initiatives such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), especially programs that use real-world, project and inquiry-based applications. Additionally, participants highlighted the need to build environmental and sustainability education into early childhood, career, and technical education programs; and felt all ages would benefit from learning in and about the natural and built environment. All regional representatives thought students needed to have a foundation in the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability from the local to global level, and the basic principles and tools of systems thinking.