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Fostering Global Citizens: Innovative Early Childhood Education Strategies

Updated: May 7

Have you ever wondered how the seeds of global citizenship are planted in the minds of our youngest learners? Kennesaw State University professors Dr. Raynice Jean-Ségur and Dr. Douglas Bell join us for an enlightening discussion on the intricate tapestry of early childhood education.

What is a global citizen?

"So when we think of the term global citizen, we're really looking at us as individuals being part of the bigger whole," Dr. Bell says. "And when you think about the whole purpose of early learning, our whole goal is to learn to live together, love each other and learn together without eating each other. So that's really what a global citizen is. But it's more than just behaving for lack of a better term in a community, but really seeing that my community expands beyond the community that I see. And that's what a global citizen is." 

Dr. Bell and Dr. Jean-Segur guide us through the conception of global awareness in children, from infancy to kindergarten, with six robust frameworks at the core. Together, we unpack the critical role educators play in weaving multicultural literature into the curriculum, fostering a generation of students who see themselves as integral parts of a diverse and vibrant world.

In today's digital age, technology is an inevitable part of learning. The podcast explores how to responsibly integrate technology into early education, striking a balance between global connectivity and age-appropriate learning experiences. It highlights the potential for technology to enhance learning while cautioning against its misuse as a substitute for interactive and hands-on educational activities.

One of the central themes of the episode is the resistance that educators may face when integrating global citizenship into the curriculum. The podcast delves into the challenges and provides strategies for teaching environmental awareness and respect across cultures, emphasizing the importance of advocacy for educational values that extend beyond local communities.

"Our students give me hope every day," says Dr. Jean-Segur. "I know early childhood is in great hands with our students. They are world changers."

Dr. Bell and Dr. Jean-Segur offer a treasure trove of practical methods to embolden children to view their actions through the lens of environmental impact, while also arming them with the necessary skills to thrive in an interconnected global society. There are a number of book and activities/experience suggestions outlined in their paper Going Global in Early Childhood Education (written with Dr. Yanghee Anna Kim).

The podcast concludes with a discussion on the optimism and potential seen in the students of early childhood education programs. It underscores the critical role of family partnerships and the impact of educators who view their students as 'world changers.' These educators foster hope for a brighter future, affirming the transformative power of early education in our society.

This episode is a treasure trove for anyone looking to inspire and equip young children with the skills to thrive in a global community. It reinforces the idea that empathy, environmental stewardship, and a sense of agency can and should be nurtured from the earliest stages of learning. The message is clear: by embracing a global perspective in early childhood education, we can nurture the next generation of empathetic, aware, and engaged global citizens.

To listen to the full episode and dive deeper into each of the topics discussed, search for "Fostering Global Citizens: Innovative Early Childhood Education Strategies" on your favorite podcast platform. Prepare to be inspired and to gain actionable insights that can transform your approach to early childhood education.

0:40:   Going Global in Early Childhood Education (check out the full paper)

3:27:   What does global citizenship look like from birth to kindergarten?

5:52:   The 6 Frameworks for Global Citizenship

8:03:   What does this look like in practice?

12:08: Changing the culture: preparing and valuing early childhood educators

16:13: State of the planet awareness

20:05: Nurturing Kid Scientists

22:43: How do we use system connectedness to foster strong early childhood experiences?28:50: The role of technology in early childhood education

34:15: Centering Children: Creating options for participation

38:44: Adventures in Learning -- backstories for Dr. Raynice and Dr. Doug

43:55: Hope 


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