To commemorate COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties that takes place in Glasgow 31 October to 12 November 2021, the Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) and Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland (CNS) are working with schools in Scotland and Chile to ensure children and young people’s voices are heard by policymakers.
Almost 160 children and young people aged from 11 to 15 years old will be taking part. They will participate in weekly/bi-weekly sessions with teachers and researchers where they lead their own research projects defining issues, collecting and then analysing data, and finally communicating their findings.
The project will use CNS’ Children’s Voices research model to engage young people from the schools in dialogue on wellbeing. By creating an international dialogue on climate change between young people from Chile and Scotland, the goal is to bring children’s perspectives into the environmental discussion.
Bringing together teachers
In addition, the project will bring together school teachers from Chile and Scotland to discuss the pedagogical approaches and tools that will bring climate issues closer to the curriculum. Teachers from Chile and Scotland will be responsible for supporting the young participants in this stage.
A crucial objective is to share progress, challenges and solutions between the teaching teams in Chile and Scotland. This will be facilitated by documenting the process in each country, which will focus on pedagogical tools, youth-led projects and knowledge sharing.
The project will culminate in an exhibit and screened event at COP26 at the University of Glasgow, presenting a unique research and practice collaboration, encouraging an exchange of knowledge, and generating youth-led climate change action.
Integration of climate change topics
Additionally students will share their projects and experiences through a digital platform, and researchers will analyse the learning and skills picked up by the children and young people, which will also explore changes to the schools’ curricula and the integration of climate change topics.
The schools involved are St. Peter’s High School and St. Eunan’s Primary in Scotland, and Escuela Luis Cruz Martinez in Chile and NSEE and CNS researchers are also working with colleagues at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso in Chile.
Dr Romina Madrid, one of the researchers from the NSEE team, said: “We’ll be working with pre-service teachers to ensure that Children’s Voices for Climate Change lays the groundwork for future collaborative opportunities, particularly so that the Children’s Voices model can be used in the future as a pedagogical strategy that links the curriculum to climate change.
“The curriculum materials with a particular focus on science that are tested during the project will also ensure other teachers both in Scotland, Chile or elsewhere can have access to them and use them in their teaching.
“We want to establish a framework that connects research, practice and climate in a way that allows multiple voices and roles to contribute.”