New Fundays Get DC Kids Learning about the World
In June, Learning Life launched a new way to deepen DC children’s learning about the world.
Learning Life’s flagship Citizen Diplomacy Initiative engages lower-income DC families, starting in Ward 8 of Washington DC, in live internet dialogues and project collaborations with lower-income families in other nations. From January to August this year, eight families in Washington DC, Dakar, Senegal, and Jerash, Jordan, participated in the first project collaboration, a photo album comparing their photographic answers to the question “what is the nature of your community?” Stay tuned for a report on that project coming in November.
As we learned during the first project and in prior meetings with our DC families, participating DC children, who range in age from 5 to 14, come into CDI knowing very little about the world. Accordingly, we launched our first funday on Sunday June 11 with a focus on answering the question “why should we care about the wider world?”, and have carried out fundays on world geography and food. Fundays are typically broken into four parts:
- Introduction and focus exercise: Children and volunteers engage in some kind of “ice breaking” activity to allow them to get to know each other better, followed or preceded by stretching and/or meditation to help with focus.
- Learning session: In large and/or small groups kids and volunteers learn basic facts about a world topic (e.g., geography, globalization, food, religions, climate change) via online videos, infographics, and printed Learning Life funday materials.
- Snack break: Kids and volunteers take a break and eat snacks provided free by Learning Life.
- Challenge session: The children, divided into teams, are tested on what they learned from the learning session. The more questions the kids answer correctly, the more opportunities they have to score points in bowling, free-throw and horseshoe games. The team that scores the most points wins (no prizes, just the satisfaction of learning and winning).
“Fundays are a fun, interactive way for CDI kids to learn more about the wider world that affects us all. Happily, we’re already seeing improvements in participating children’s knowledge about the world,” says Paul Lachelier, Learning Life’s Founder and Director. “Knowing the facts is often denigrated in favor of knowing how to think, but everyone needs facts to think, and the more facts about a topic one knows, the better one understands, remembers, and problem-solves on that topic.” (For more on the importance of facts for learning, click here.)
Going forward, fundays will be held once monthly in DC, usually in the afternoon on the second Sunday of the month, to supplement CDI international dialogues and project collaborations. Future fundays will also engage CDI kids in expressive group presentations of what they are learning to deepen their understanding, and exercise their capacities for public speaking, teamwork, and creativity. In the longer-term, as we are able to employ volunteer managers in other countries where our CDI families are located, we will extend fundays to those locations.
To learn more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Live in DC Ward 8’s Hillsdale, Fort Stanton, Douglass or Shipley neighborhoods, and interested in having your family participate free in CDI? Email us with a telephone number and best times to reach you. We will call you (if you are the parent or legal guardian) to determine if your family is eligible to participate.