What Are We Doing to Prepare Children for the World They Will Inherit?

Why we're creating prepared planning for children's futures in an uncertain world.

Children with the Earth.

For a number of reasons which are now becoming increasingly apparent, we, as educators, are concerned about the world that the children we teach will inherit. Climate change, the automation of jobs and growing populations are chief among those reasons.

Here at PlanBee, we’ve been scratching our heads for some time, thinking about how we can support primary teachers by creating resources to help address these issues and prepare children for the future. We, like all teachers, want them to grow up to be confident, safe, socially responsible and capable of protecting our fragile planet.


A plan for teaching and learning about social responsibility.

Last year, we were approached by Marcus Culverwell, Headmaster of Reigate St Mary’s and a passionate advocate for Education for Social Responsibility (ESR) in schools. He was keen to expand upon his work promoting education about the harm caused by decades of unchecked consumerism, the damaging effects of human activity on the planet, and our rights and responsibilities as global citizens:

As a Head Teacher it strikes me more and more, year by year, that we tend to value the things that we are asked to measure rather than measuring the things we truly value. In a world where essential life-giving resources are being depleted at an ever-accelerating rate, where the divide between rich and poor is becoming greater and where measurements of happiness in the developed world suggest life satisfaction is on the decline, one has to ask whether we are effectively preparing our children to take up places of responsibility in the 21st century. They need to understand that sustainability, ethical trade, equality and all of the aspects of the global goals for sustainable development are really, deeply important as they guide our trajectory in the 21st century.


The Education for Social Responsibility Curriculum (ESR).

With Marcus, we’ve developed an entire primary curriculum for Education for Social Responsibility (ESR). Comprising three short schemes of work per Key Stage/Phase (KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2), the curriculum covers seven strands of learning:

  • Ethical Trading
  • Fulfilled Lives
  • Ecosystems
  • Climate Change
  • Water Scarcity
  • Biodiversity
  • Finite Planet

Each strand is revisited once per phase, ensuring children revisit themes and build upon their prior learning throughout their time in primary. The short, three-lesson schemes of work are ideal to fit into already busy school timetables, too.

The themes are explored in an age-appropriate fashion, ensuring not only that children can develop a realistic understanding of both the problems they and others inheriting the planet face, but develop a clear idea of what they can do about it.


Helping children develop a positive outlook and the skills they need.

We felt that while it is vitally important that children are not shielded from the problems they will grow to inherit as adults, they aren’t left feeling anxious and helpless about them, either! Each scheme of work includes opportunities to learn about and develop straightforward, practical actions children can take both now, and as young adults. These ideas will help them to make a real difference, to have a positive impact, improving the lives of others around the world and to protect the planet, too.

To help develop and improve these new ESR lessons as they were being developed, Marcus has trialled them in his school. The feedback has been helpful for us, and striking, too:

The PlanBee resources for Education for Social Responsibility (ESR) are perfect for bringing to the forefront of education those aspects of life which are of critical importance and yet so easily neglected in our SAT focussed, target-driven education system. I recommend these resources to any primary school. Our teachers love using these resources and the children readily engage in these important and interesting areas because they see the deep relevance for their futures and for the protection of the planet which they love.


A complete curriculum for primary classrooms.

At the time of launch there are eleven schemes of work complete, with more coming in the next few months. Here’s an outline of the entire curriculum:

ESR Curriculum Overview

DOWNLOAD THIS OVERVIEW

We can’t wait for children, class teachers and schools to experience these new schemes of work, and we’d love to hear feedback from those of you that teach them. Why not tweet us to let us know how you’ve got on with the new Education for Social Responsibility planning?


By Becky Cranham, PlanBee founder and Lead Resource Creator. With thanks to Marcus Culverwell.

Becky is on Twitter: @planbeebecky

TAKE ME TO THE ESR LESSONS