Under the current conditions that most of us are living, life has dramatically changed. In our household, we’re going through a process of learning how to home-school with two very energetic young boys, 2 and 5. There is a mismatch between our aims and theirs – they like to spend as much time playing outside as possible and avoiding any type of formal “study”. We’re lucky in the fact that we have a big garden and live in leafy suburbs, and we’ve found that our daily lockdown walks have become an important feature in the structure of our lockdown life.
Whilst my eldest son’s primary school is providing daily materials via a web app for download and use as loose lesson plans, it has been refreshing to see that his teacher is also actively encouraging the broadening of his intellectual horizon which we’re doing in our simple day-to-day activities including our much-prized daily walk.
At Makematic, we’ve focused heavily on themes of global citizenship and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which go hand-in-hand with these, in much of our work. We’ve created a number of seasons of short films around both which engage and enthuse learners in the K12 sector around the world. We’re currently involved heavily in the SDG Challenge #17daystolearn
And in our own day-to-day family life under lockdown, and on our walks, we’ve looked at these with my 5-year-old son.
In the first instance, the challenge has been how to find a simple definition that a 5-year-old will understand what it means to be a global citizen. Definitions on the subject abound, so in my quest for a simple definition, I came across that of Hannah Arendt, the renowned German-American Philosopher. She said that it’s “an ethic or a care for the world”. So simple and so precise and it fits in perfectly with the SDGs.
Caring for the world on our walks means picking up litter in the eyes of a 5-year-old. He’s become obsessed with it! Along with saying hello to as many people as possible who we pass on our walks, all like us, trudging the neighbourhood streets, just happy to be out and about in the fresh air for a short time each day.
It means waving to our elderly neighbour, attracting her attention bringing her to the window for a chat, making sure that she’s OK and has enough food. It means marvelling at the nature around us, something that we so often miss in the frenetic day-to-day sprint of everyday normal life. The streets and parks are so quiet now, it’s easy to hear a variety of different birds and then spot them, something to which we’re usually oblivious because of everyday background noise.
Most of all to a 5-year-old, it means scootering! We live in an area with some good hills and he’s personally made a video for SDG Challenge goal 4 on how to ride your scooter safely on a steep hill without falling off and hurting yourself.
Our daily walk takes us via different routes each day, finding streets which we didn’t know existed before. We’ve discovered a hidden park just 10 minutes from where we live. Our conversations vary depending on what we see and hear, and no two walks are ever the same. Reflecting on how this simple hour of freedom each evening has become central to our lives, as well as my children’s learning process, has highlighted how complicated that learning process has been before.
Our walks are opening our eyes to a different way of living and seeing the world. What are your walks doing for you?