Kids2Kids Change the World's exchange program with Indonesia kicked off in October and ran until the end of December. Both groups discussed solutions to food and plastic waste, learned about each other's cultures and school life, and about the rights of the child.
How do you help kids learn that even though they are all unique, we are all connected in some way? Why, by creating a "tangled web" of course! Using a ball of yarn, the kids learn about how they are individuals, yet all connected to the great web of life with other people around the world.
Do you know that kids have rights too? They do, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989 at the UN. Our group here in Japan is learning about what their rights are and those of their friends around the world through our exchange with Indonesia.
Instead of simply talking about what rights kids have, we played a game called "Wants vs. Needs" (courtesy of Oxfam Education), where the kids divided up cards (food, water, TVs, bicycles, medical care, ability to express opinions, own bedroom, candy, education, protection from discrimination, money, holidays, shelter, religion, clothes, computer, protection from abuse, clean air, raido, playgrounds) into their own "wants" and "needs", and came up with others that weren't there already, such as family and energy (electricity and gas).
But what happens if someone comes in and takes over your group, and they tell you that you can only have SOME of those rights? The kids here had to choose what rights they wanted to have, with one group of older kids going for all the "needs" and the younger group focusing only on what they really needed.
When we discussed what the older group was going to do for fun, they nonchalantly informed everyone that they were going to use their money to buy things from the other group...although that group had no need for money because they were bartering goods and services instead of using currency. It was a great jumping off point for the kids in learning that what you think may not always work in another country, as wel as about trade.
We closed these sessions by showing our Indonesian friends about school life in Japan and asking some questions about the video letter we received.