How does social action fit with schools linking?

“If you care about something you should take action and look after it.”

If you’ve been wondering how social action fits with schools linking then find out here!

For us at The Linking Network embedding social action into our schools linking programme is part of helping pupils explore how to be at ease with themselves and others and find meaningful answers to the question ‘How do we all live together?’

The programme has always been rooted in bringing children together through  designed activities that enable common goals, meaningful interactions and enjoyable collaborative tasks. This is to create effective social contact between children across lines of difference in order to reduce prejudice and create understanding between one another. Supporting young people in learning about and taking social action together thus becomes a natural fit for schools linking. This is  because pupils have the opportunity to work with their link classes with a shared goal of creating a positive and meaningful change in the world whilst also building connection and understanding with one another. The work practically demonstrates the values held by the Linking Class.

With the 6 principles of high quality youth social action in mind we have created Phase 2 of our schools linking programme. The social action which takes place is child-led and thus shaped by young people’s needs, ideas and decision making. Pupils have the opportunity to reflect on the things that they care about in the world as a key part of a process which leads them to consider the causes that most resonate with them and the initiatives that they want to lend their voices and actions to. 

Students are given the opportunity to learn about young activists such as Dr Mya Rose Craig, Marley Dias and Yash Gupta who have individually campaigned on issues that have struck a chord with them. These include issues relating to the environment, Representation and  inclusion with a campaign for young people to have access to glasses. By hearing these stories children are  able to be galvanised  towards their own forms of activism in their own lives in the present and the future.   

As well as this, pupils are given time to actively investigate the concept of social action through lesson 2 which uses the Philosophy for Children strategy. Children are appropriately challenged and stretched to lead the conversation around the topic exploring what it means to them and their ideas surrounding it. 

Through the process of social action in linking we have seen children take action relating to promoting equality, planning for food waste reduction, encouraging healthy living through creating Human Bingo games to be played at home and caring for the environment. One school also decided to write postcards to older people to create connection and reduce loneliness.

 So whether your children choose to create bunting which carry messages of equality to be hung in the local library, write top tips on how to reduce food waste and work with the school kitchen on a survey or  create a wormery for the school outdoor area, these are all activities that are socially impactful. They can also provide the right amount of challenge as children  have to really reflect and consider what actions will make a genuine difference. Pupils are able to work together and share their achievement with their linking class continuing to deepen the social impact by spreading the message of change. 

What’s also great is that the programme offers the opportunity for children to reflect upon the action they’ve taken and  discuss how they might carry on social action in their own lives so that it becomes embedded and progresses to other opportunities. We saw this happen with one child who continued to partake in social action once the programme had ended by raising money for a local hospital ward and another child who created a bug bedroom for their garden.