Fair Trade and 6 year olds!

Hi guys, it's Laura from year2tastic here.

I hope you are all well?
I'm the blog admin this month and I am bursting to share with you a fantastic teaching idea I use with my class of 6 and 7 year olds!

Are you increasingly being asked to teach younger and younger children about being Global Citizens?
It's a huge part of the New National Curriculum here in the UK and, in an area like mine, it is crucial that children begin to appreciate their place in the grand scheme of things and how they can have an impact on others.

This half term we have been exploring the question 'What's on your plate?' 
The 3 aims of this Learning Challenge are-
1) develop an understanding of where the food the children eat comes from
2) expand their understanding of how to eat a healthy, balanced diet
3) develop an understanding of Fair Trade

To achieve the first aim we visit a local farm and the children get to identify crops growing in the fields, harvest potatoes and onions and taste apples collected from the orchard.

After this we visit a local supermarket and find the same products for sale there. The children begin to develop their understanding of the chain food travels along before it reaches their plate.

I turn my Role-play area into a Farm Shop with real produce for the children to sell-

To work towards the second aim we build on our P.E. work and talk about a healthy life style. Children take part in several activities to find out what it is that makes food healthy or unhealthy, sort them into a food pyramid and then plan a healthy, balanced meal. This work continues throughout the children's time in our school and is strengthened during Design Technology cooking projects.

To achieve the third aim with 6 year olds who don't have the most economically stable lives themselves is filled with a few more stumbling blocks.

How can I tell these children who often come to school without having breakfast, whose homes don't have carpet down, whose cupboards are often empty that they are lucky? 

How can I tell the child whose parents drink and scream and shout at one another until 3am that they are lucky? 

How can I demonstrate that even though you have no heating or electric but having a tap you can turn on to get water even though it will only be cold water for a few days until the  meter is topped up means you are lucky? 

Part of raising a child's sense of global awareness also means raising their self awareness too and to children like some of those I teach it means pointing out the things in their lives which are unfair and valuing their struggle too. The amazing thing is, it is usually these children who grasp the concept of Fair Trade first. I don't know why this is- perhaps they have a keener sense of justice? 

I usually start of by unpicking the term Fair Trade and ensuring all children know what we mean by trade. 
We go through a Power Point from FairTrade.org to demonstrate the negative side of trade and discuss if this is fair. This activity also highlights the difference between my children's life styles and that of children in other countries whom we deem to be less fortunate than us. 

Then I use a practical activity to further accentuate the concept. 

I have 4 children up at the front of the class, I give them role labels of 'Farmer' 'Distributor' 'Supermarket' and 'Buyer'- I know there are more links in the chain than this but for 6 year old, 4 is enough! 

I then give some play dough to the farmer and ask them to shape it into a banana, some small coffee beans or rice which they then pass along the chain to the Supermarket.

The buyer has 12 mini marshmallows  (it can be anything really we just like them) and they hand 10 over to the Supermarket who in turn hands 6 to the distributer who hands 2 to the farmer. 

The children watching are always quick to comment on the unfairness of this and always, always insist the farmer should have the most because they did all of the hard work. We then discus the notion that the supermarket and distributers have peoples wages to pay and need to make a profit so they are unwilling to give the farmer more. 

After this we watch a short video from OXFAM about how Fair Trade works and give the chain another go. This time to Buyer 'pays' all 12 mini marshmallows for the produce, the store still keeps 4 and so does the distributer but this time the farmer also gets 4- the children are always much happier this time around and see the process as being much more fair. 

I finish off the session by showing the price difference between Fair Trade produce and non Fair Trade produce in some of our local supermarkets and explain to the children that even though it is only a few pence difference, to some people in our communities those pennies are still very important so we can go home and explain about Fair Trade but not hassle our parents to buy Fair Trade.

 I try to stress that if you can you should because I am very conscious that some of our children's families are only just making ends meet themselves. 

I love exploring this concept with such little minds- they are full of questioning and righteousness that it makes sense to start developing their awareness of the world around them- just and unjust!

Thanks so much for stopping by
Laura Xx

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is such a fabulous lesson! I am so impressed with this. WAY TO GO!