Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Welcome to Global Sandbox: helping students dig deeper as we learn to work things out together.

Child working, Purple Bamboo Park

In May 2010, at the International Leadership in Education dinner, several ideas came together for me, and I understood more fully the need to focus on early childhood and elementary level global education.  Here in Washington we have the most diverse school district in the nation located just a few miles south of Seattle.  The global community has truly come to us.

Young children see and are aware of differences and similarities in their classmates.  Their natural curiosity is the greatest asset available for teachers to provide a forum for learning about and discussing varied cultural perspectives. In a classroom environment where differences are not acknowledged, children naturally assume that their curiosity about their classmates is unwelcome or rude. Empathy is replaced by silence, which creates an elephant in the room.  Young children do not have the learned biases of older students and adults.  By providing accurate information and relevant education in the elementary grades I believe we can begin to replace biases with greater compassion and understanding. Working with young children to bring understanding often reaches not only the children but also the young parents involved in their children’s education in these early years.

Through Global Sandbox I hope to bring together elementary and early childhood teachers in a forum to gather ideas, identify needs, and help establish a community exchange post. I will research and write on topics related to the World Affairs Council Global Classroom programs, and offer essential questions, ideas for integrating social studies curriculum - critical in these early years - and online links and visual resources.  Some topics will touch on world problems and others on universal concepts.  Through Global Sandbox I hope to reach those working to prepare young people for middle school and high school.  Students from elementary classrooms with a focus on global education will arrive at the next level more receptive to each other and the world as a whole.

I am a National Board certified teacher committed to developmentally appropriate global education for young children.  I believe the integration of real world issues presented in relevant and respectful ways into the classroom curriculum will motivate young children to master the skills of reading and writing and thinking creatively to solve problems, better preparing them to enter the world as global citizens.   I welcome the opportunity to share ideas with other educators as we help students dig deeper into the world and learn to work things out together.
Purple Bamboo Park, children's sand area

Eileen Hynes


  1. Looking forward to reading the Global Sandbox! I agree that it is vital to begin learning about cultural diversity early in elementary school. I hope global educators will post their thoughts via the comments tool so that we can get some discussion going, too. Thanks, Eileen, for creating this exciting new blog!

  2. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for your comment. One way I am hoping we can support each other is through the sharing of our favorite resources. One great new title is Ready for the World: Preparing Elementary Students for the Global Age, which has been published by Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, ISBN 978-1-936123-06-3. It includes sections on preparing globally competent students, strategies for success: preparing teachers, curriculum, instruction, assessment and world languages and more. It is clearly written and simply a great resource for teachers as they prepare curriculum for the classroom and also as they prepare to share what they are doing with families. What resources have you found helpful?