KidsCAN is a network of 15+ local organisations and individuals with an expertise/interest in helping children and those who live/work with them to understand and respond to climate change, whilst recognising the importance of safeguarding their mental health. Below is an overview of activites to date; for a brief overview of the network’s history, head here.
To produce up-to-date, fact-based and engaging information for children about climate change which is safe and empowering; to sign-post existing materials which fit with our ethos; to support the adults living and working with children, and enable them to communicate in a safe and empowering way; to enable cross-organisational collaboration and avoid duplication. The network was initiated and is currently led by Low Carbon West Oxford, and in the first year of its existence has done the following:
Over the last year, partners from KidsCAN have produced a series of downloadable resources for Key Stage 2 children, for use within school or outside. This work has been led by LCWO and Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon, another Oxfordshire CAG.
To date, 3 downloadable resources have been released (a Climate Challenge; a Climate Change Fact Buster; and a SATs revision literacy booklet which takes climate change as its theme). The materials are all open-source and free to download, and are accompanied by basic lesson plans, assembly outlines and follow-up materials. Since their publication in the later part of 2019, the materials have been downloaded over 400 times from the KidsCAN website.
Work in schools:
Members of the network have produced a 50 minute lesson plan to accompany the materials, and trialled it in two schools with 350+ children. The network has also delivered assemblies in a number of schools. In both cases, the aim has been to create a template for others to use freely across the county and beyond, enabling schools, community action groups and others to deliver and use the materials themselves.
In addition to producing the materials, KidsCAN/LCWO has been running workshops for adults about how to talk to kids about climate change in a safe and empowering way.
Two of these workshops have been delivered by psychotherapist Jo McAndrews, including one specifically for teachers in November 2019.
“Fascinating, relevant, fantastic. I honestly could not praise it enough and would give in an 11 out of 10!” Brittany Hutchings
Others have been run by Low Carbon West Oxford, including one an open workshop at the Natural History Museum in September 2019 and one for academics at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute in January 2020.
“Really good to have someone talking about how we talk to kids about climate change and the talk was full of people concerned with the issues around it, both parents, grandparents and teachers. Mim dealt very well with all the issues involved with discussing climate change with different ages, signposted a lot of useful resources and discussed the subject with calm, open, informed authority.“ Chris Jarvis, Education Officer, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
In March, LCWO was invited to present its KidsCAN work and materials for review at Oxford University’s Department of Education and ECI’s ‘Trust and Climate Change: Information for Teaching in a Digital Age’.
Growing network of interested stakeholders:
The first year of activity has yielded a growing list of interested partners across a variety of stakeholder groups – including practitioners and organisations engaging already with children and/or schools; teachers and schools across Oxfordshire; and parent groups. Specific projects of a number of organisations within the KidsCAN network are listed below in the section listing influences.
Book based on the Climate Challenge:
OUP has produced a book based on the KidsCAN Climate Challenge leaflet, ‘Max Takes a Stand’, to be released May 2020.