What is Fairtrade Fortnight?
‘Fairtrade’ is all about farmers and workers from developing countries receiving a return for their work that is fair. The work of the Fairtrade Foundation is necessary because the trade these workers engaged in was unfair and unethical for quite some time. Fairtrade Fortnight occurs each year and its aim is to bring awareness on Fairtrade items. Many people only think of cocoa or bananas when they hear the word Fairtrade but there are many more products!
Why Should Children Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight?
According to a recent paper from UNESDOC, the role that education plays needs to expand beyond developing knowledge and cognitive skills. Instead, there needs to be a stronger emphasis on the values and ethical attitudes taught to young learners and this should start right from early childhood. As Early Years professionals, typically we only explore these areas during Circle Time or during Story Times but it can be more than that.
The paper also implied that education in the future is expected to facilitate international cooperation and promote social transformation in new way, leaning more towards an inclusive and sustainable world. So, any thematic event that can be used to develop the skill of global citizenship amongst your children should be grabbed with both hands!
How Can We Take Part?
1. You need to introduce what Fairtrade does in a simple way. There are a wealth of Fairtrade resources, tailored to the Early Years sector. The activities target the developmental goals related to fine motor skills, letter recognition, expressive art and design etc. The learning packs include playdough mats, photos, messy play activities and more. They are free, printable and online.
2. There are also colouring sheet templates which can be used for collage activities, painting and colouring. Focus on the Fairtrade symbol with your young learners and explain that this is what we use to identify Fairtrade items at supermarkets.
3. Listen to the Fairtrade Nursery Rhyme
4. A Fairtrade Hunt! Label random items at your setting with the Fairtrade sticker. Get children to identify the items using magnifying glasses. This will help them to become accustom to recognising what a Fairtrade item is.
5. Role-play allows for children to put themselves in others’ shoes - we need to nurture this skill of empathy. For example, if children are provided with farmer props, they can pretend they are farmers and think about how they would feel about being paid unfairly versus being paid well. You can also set up a ‘Fairtrade Shop’ in your Role-Play Area with pretend-play items such as chocolate, tea, coffee, clothes or flowers.
6. If possible, schedule a virtual visitor to speak with the children. This can be a chance for the children to tell the visitor what they have learnt for the last two weeks. During this time, you will be able to make observations of what the children say which can be used as evidence of their progress of learning.
Find out more about Fairtrade’s focus on climate this year.