Do Children Care About the News?
Sharing the news in school
It’s easy to think that current affairs are something for ‘grownups’: complex, confusing, or even scary.
While it may be initially assumed by some that current affairs have no place in school, all too often we see the importance of appropriately discussing news events with children.
The availability of social media, internet searches, and apps at the push of a button on smart phones gives us quick and easy access to the news. This makes it increasingly difficult to shelter children from current affairs.
At Picture News, we believe exposing children to current affairs with age-appropriate discussion methods arms them with important skills of communication, confidence, and understanding.
This blog explores some incredible cases of action taken by children upon learning what is happening in the world around them.
Going Plastic-Free with Comic Relief
Having an awareness of issues can bring about change, something which Fourlanesend Community Primary School knows well enough, after successfully campaigning for plastic-free Comic Relief red noses.
The school’s children sent letters and emails to Comic Relief in a bid to reduce plastic waste. The campaign paid off, and in 2021, Comic Relief changed their red noses to include a biodegradable plastic alternative.
This is such an inspiring story; children made changes to a huge organisation, simply by using their voices for something they encountered and were passionate about.
Hearts for Homes
Year 2 at Gee Cross Holy Trinity Primary School made a positive difference to members of their community in 2020, which later spiralled into a nationwide initiative.
As Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill, the children at Gee Cross Holy Trinity were busy showing compassion to others. Having explored the Picture News pack, ‘Should visits to care homes be allowed?’, Year 2 grew passionate about people in care residences who were lonely due to Covid-19 restrictions. Despite being a distant memory now, lockdown was a difficult time for care home residents, workers, and families alike, and Year 2 wanted to do something about it.
The 6-year-olds wrote letters of support to local care home residents, and created decorative wooden hearts, dubbed ‘pocket hugs’. They personally delivered their good will gestures, and waved to the shielding residents through windows.
Teacher Katrina Cole said, ‘Nobody had prepared themselves for just how emotional the visit was going to be…’, and told us that one resident shared, ‘This is the happiest I’ve been in weeks!’
This moving community project was made possible because the Year 2 children developed an awareness of events unfolding around them.
But it didn’t stop there.
Here at Picture News, we were so inspired by Year 2’s story that we turned the ‘Hearts for Homes’ idea into a nationwide campaign, which was immensely popular and even reported on by the BBC.
Thousands of children across the country created hearts and uplifting messages for residents in care homes and those shielding, thanks to learning about what is happening in the wider world.
Community Litter Picking
Fast-forward to 2023, when Year One at Holy Family School were inspired by the Picture News pack, ‘What is rubbish?’, which reported on the Spogomi World Cup litter picking competition.
After learning about the damage litter has on the environment, Year One embarked on a community litter pick to care for their local area.
The school shared on their social media that upon observing the children’s litter picking mission, local residents were impressed, and donated treats for the children as a thank you.
By raising their global awareness, the Year One children helped their community, and even unexpectedly benefitted from their actions!
Gift Collection for Christmas
Another inspiring story of action comes from St Andrew’s School.
In December 2023, Picture News covered the decision to end an annual charity Christmas light display, exhibited at Twinpike Way in York. The pack asked, ‘Are decorations an important part of celebrations?’
The focus on festivities and ways to mark celebrations was a source of inspiration for children in Class 6a, who decided to spread joy in their community before school was out for the holidays.
After pondering the big question from Picture News, Class 6a at St Andrew’s crafted Christmas cards for residents at a local care home, and organised a gift collection to donate to charities, as documented on their social media.
This lovely way of marking a celebration shows yet another instance of impactful choices made by children as they expand their awareness of current affairs.
Yes, children care about the news!
With the right approach to sharing current affairs, children voice moving, thought-provoking ideas and opinions, which they can ultimately act on as they become well-adjusted citizens. There’s more to simply knowing what is happening in the news, by taking it further to learn from the wider world.
Bring the world to your classroom with a free Picture News pack, here.