Our value of the month at METNS is Active Citizenship. We focus on belonging and on ways to make a positive contribution to society. This value is very much in line with our Green School goals for the current year, our support for government action on sustainability, our engagement with Earth Hour on March 30th and our recent endorsement of the ‘Slán le Paddy Plastic’ initiative.
Why Active Citizenship Matters
The commitment to the four key principles of Educate Together is encapsulated in the motto “Learn Together to Live Together“. This motto is essentially a call to Active Citizenship. All Educate Together schools are committed to this motto through the ethos, the stated values and the day-to-day relationships both within the school and with the extended community.
What is Citizenship?
Citizenship is the status of a person recognised under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation. While every citizen has status, rights and privileges, they also have responsibilities. Citizenship also means supporting one’s community and country. This implies acting in an ethical manner, i.e. in ways that are right, fair, just, honourable and humane.
Active Citizenship and our School
Our Learn Together ethical programme clearly identifies the importance of an inclusive ethos and affords an opportunity for whole school communities to embrace the reality of what it means to live out the ideal of learning together to live together.
At curricular level, the aim of the ‘Equality and Justice’ strand and the ‘Ethics and Environment’ strand in our Learn Together programme is to nurture and develop in the children a caring and responsible approach to society. The programme explicitly states these goals:
- To raise awareness in children of issues of human rights, justice and equality in society
- To develop in children an ethical and reasoned approach to caring for the environment
- To provide children with a range of dispositions and skills to enable them to participate in and contribute to the democratic process and become informed, socially responsible and fair-minded citizens.
A value is a principle that guides your thinking and behaviour. How might a focus on citizenship do this?
Citizenship education is about enabling people to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for their own lives and communities. In METNS we explore the various groups to which we belong, starting with family and ultimately introducing the concept of global citizenship.
How do you show citizenship in your school and community?
- Follow and respect the agreed class charter and the rules in your community.
- Do your part in taking care of the environment.
- Volunteer in school and community organisations.
- Be respectful to your friends, neighbours, family, etc.
- Help people in need.
- Have a good understanding of democracy.
- Be a good person.
Exploring citizenship in action, as embodied in both the Green School initiative and the student council, encourages students to participate in their community as active citizens. This approach is important as it allows students opportunities to engage in active citizenship activities over a number of years and, in doing so, builds their interest and skills.
Make it your Goal this month to embrace Active Citizenship
This month, decide to partake actively in the life of your school and community and to be a positive contributor to the wellbeing of all. Support our current Green School initiative and spread the word! Implement the helpful suggestions from PTA to avoid single use plastic in lunchboxes.