Growing global citizens: young children's lived experiences with the development of their own social world

As the result of an increasingly technologically 'connected' world, citizens are finding it difficult to effectively exercise civic responsibilities in relation to global issues such as climate change, poverty, and warfare (Tully, 2009). New understandings of the concept of 'citizenship' are being extended beyond traditional views of country, continent or region to inform the development of 'global citizenship.' In an attempt to develop a definition for this concept, UK OXFAM (1997, p.1) suggested more than a decade ago now that a 'global citizen' is someone who: is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen; respects and values diversity; has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally; is outraged by social injustice; is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place; and participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from the local to the global. / Constructions of childhood, early childhood education practices, and approaches to early childhood education all lead to understandings about the 'child as citizen.' Children in classrooms around the world are engaged in learning which focuses on civic responsibility, including many of the aforementioned characteristics of a global citizen, from a very young age. However, the notion of young children being global citizens is new and somewhat intriguing; given childhood experiences often focus on the near environment of home, family and a limited range of settings in which they interact.<div><br></div><div><div>International Research in Early Childhood Education, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 79-90</div></div>