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Little Ripples Global Citizens

Fostering empathy and global ambassadorship by connecting children with refugee peers through developmentally-apt and play-based activities.

Photo of Katie-Jay Scott Stauring
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

One major milestone for Global Citizens since submission was the expansion of what was once created for a U.S.-based audience is now being piloted at Ryerson University's lab school in Toronto. While the pilot phase in Toronto is just beginning, we did change our flashcards from being Arabic-English to being Arabic-English-French-Spanish in order to prepare for this expansion and hopefully for the curriculum's use in bilingual and dual-immersion settings in the U.S. Additionally, we have registered the program with UNESCO's Global Citizenship programs and we are working with the UCLA UNESCO Chair to increase awareness of the program.

Name or Organization

iACT

Geography

Redondo Beach, CA, USA. This tool will be available across the United States.

What is your stage of development?

  • Early Stage Innovator, with at least one-year experience in ECD

Type

  • Non-profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Global Citizens is a one-of-a-kind program for children ages three to five, that creates the foundation for global ambassadorship by fostering a personal relationship with refugee peers while integrating mindfulness, play-based learning, nonviolent communication, and human rights, through activities that meet national early-learning standards. iACT has not come across any other program that is both whole-child-focused and offers a direct connection to and between young children in the U.S. with their counterparts living in refugee camps.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Global Citizens (GC) is a U.S.-based preschool curriculum that connects children with their peers living in refugee camps in eastern Chad and attending Little Ripples preschool centers, through empathy-based and developmentally appropriate tools, activities, and resources that meet nationally-recognized preschool learning foundations. Little Ripples is an adaptable and efficient education innovation that builds the capacity of refugee women to improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three through in-home, state-of- the-art, customized education. Global Citizens fosters connection and empathy, and creates the foundation for global ambassadorship at the earliest stages of development in the next generation. Global Citizens is a four-week, daily curriculum that can be used with and tailored to a diversity of preschool philosophies. Each day, the program begins with simple mindfulness and breathing exercises that Little Ripples students also participate in. Just as Little Ripples utilizes play-based and student-driven components, so does Global Citizens. Additionally, each daily lesson includes an objective, resources, and activities that teach students about themselves and the life of their refugee peers, while focusing on nationally recognized early learning standards. GC is a safe way to share the joys of participation, cultural ambassadorship, and empathy-based living at the earliest stages of a child's development.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Global Citizens fosters connections and meaningful learning opportunities for children as global citizens. It is a historic experience for youngsters which will plant seeds of compassion and interdependence that will last a lifetime. This experience is a safe way to share, within preschool communities, the joys of participation, cultural ambassadorship, and empathy-based living, while meeting early childhood development learning foundations.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

There are more than 65 million refugee and displaced people in our world today. More than half of all refugees are children. In the last few years, the word “refugee” has become a dirty word with negative connotations. In a global society, in which migration and displacement are at the highest levels since World War II, we must begin to foster empathy and provide our children with global education. Over an 18-month period, iACT partnered with My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids in Redondo Beach, CA, and Oaks School in Los Angeles, CA, to pilot and improve upon the Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum. The result is a four-week, daily curriculum that can be used with and tailored to a diversity of preschool philosophies and learning spaces. Each day, the program begins with simple mindfulness and breathing exercises that Little Ripples students also participate in. Just as Little Ripples utilizes play-based and student-driven components, so does GC. Additionally, each daily lesson includes an objective, resources, and highly interactive activities that teach students about themselves and the life of their refugee peers, while focusing on social-emotional development, language and literacy, language development (can be tailored to dual-immersion language programs), mathematics, science, performing arts, physical development, health, history–social science, and science. The curriculum is organized into one preparation week and four active teaching weeks, each with themes and activities that support the four Cs for 21st century thinking: critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. The weekly themes are: Prep Week, Teacher, Parent, and School Introduction: Through a series of activities, teachers familiarize themselves with the curriculum and develop a program that meets their school’s mission and vision while maintaining the mission and vision of Global Citizens. This includes parent/guardian rollout, readings, and extensions. Week 1, Connecting and Exploring: Students explore their world as well as the world in which the Darfuri refugees live. Students make a personal connection by “meeting” Guisma and her family. Students learn about being healthy. Week 2, Family and Community: Students define and explore home, family, and school—their own as well as those of their peers in the refugee camps. Week 3, Culture: Students share aspects of their daily lives, including games, food, the environment, and occupations, making connections to how life in the camps is similar or different from their own. Students begin to learn about taking action as part of a global community. Week 4, The 4 Cs: Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and innovation: Students learn about rights, needs, and wants through the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). They reflect and share how they feel about what they have learned. The curriculum culminates in a social justice-based activity with which students create a community charter for living peacefully with their new Darfuri friends. Rather than having a rigid structure, the Global Citizens 20-Unit Lesson Plan is a guide that offers parents, teachers, and caregivers a practical way to teach about the refugee experience while adapting to the unique needs of their students, classroom, and school philosophy. Each weekly theme is organized into five lessons which provide a lesson objective, an overview of learning foundations, the CRC right addressed, a lesson guide, and an activity suggestion. In addition to the Lesson Plan, educators receive the Little Ripples Global Citizens resource box. This box includes a Global Citizens Program Binder (lesson plan, resource list, mindfulness exercises, handouts, and curriculum evaluation); over 50+ English-Arabic Global Citizens flashcards with images, definitions, and Arabic phonetic pronunciations; kid-friendly world map; children’s books: Four Feet, Two Sandals, My Two Blankets, What Do You Do with an Idea, Rain School, and Lucia's Neighborhood; wooden chime; African fabric; desert animals; Little Ripples scarf; Darfur United mini ball; and a unique profile of a Darfuri refugee. This curriculum fosters empathy in the next generation at the youngest stage of development. It adaptable to any preschool philosophy and our goal is to get this curriculum into early learning and preschool centers across the United States. Let us begin fostering global relationships at a young age in order to truly equip the next generation of leaders with 21st century skills for a global society.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Children in early childhood care and development centers serving children ages three to five (but also as young as two and up to kindergarten-age) will directly benefit the most from Global Citizens. The program will cultivate globally-minded generations of children who, by celebrating similarities and differences between peers and themselves, will see the world as one. Inline with UNESCO’s approach to global education, Global Citizens will “nurture respect for all, build a sense of belonging to a common humanity, and help learners become responsible and active global citizens” at the earliest stages of development. iACT is a facilitator of tools, training, and curricula that create a new culture of participation for people facing and responding to humanitarian crises. We place the beneficiary at the heart of each program and work with beneficiaries to co-create, manage, and expand impact. All of our programs have teams of global experts who tirelessly contribute to the co-creation of our programs from start to finish, as result of our fostering personal relationships between volunteer team members and beneficiaries. iACT used this model to successfully create the Little Ripples program, which received the 2016 WISE award for Innovation in Education.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We do not need to wait until elementary school, middle, or high school to introduce our children to the global community. Schools around the world have adopted global citizenship, service learning, and student-emergent practices in their classrooms with the purpose of creating personal and community awareness, fostering cultural empathy to help inform decisions, increasing civic engagement, and creating the space for more principled decision-making. iACT believes that extending these practices to the early childhood experience will further global progress towards meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education. Target 4.7 calls for education that promotes sustainable development and global citizenship by specifically focusing on “human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.” While maintaining emphasis on early childhood learning outcomes, Little Ripples Global Citizens provides adaptable lesson plans that connect children with an experience that one of their peers is having, teach them to celebrate the diversity of their experiences, and to be advocates for themselves and their peers. By integrating the foundations of nonviolent communication, stimulating collaboration and creativity, and allowing space for free play that leads to peer-communication, we are preparing the next generation of leaders.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

The Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum and resource box can be purchased for $600. This covers the cost of materials and shipping with the minimal leftover funds being reinvested into the Little Ripples refugee camp-based program. iACT’s expert advisors are thinking of two ways that we could reach low-income children. First, we could offer a premium rate for the curriculum at $1,000 for a “buy one, give one” model. The “give one” curriculum and box would be provided to a Head Start program or a low-income school looking to support Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment. iACT would make it easy for Head Start programs or Title IV-A schools to sign up on a first-applied, first-provided list. Second, iACT could partner with a middle or high school club or class to train a set of ambassadors in the curriculum. The ambassadors would then go into preschool or kindergarten classrooms to facilitate the daily lessons. This service learning, mentorship-oriented model would allow the club or class to interact with six-eight preschool or kindergarten classrooms throughout the year using only one curriculum and resource box. This model also provides essential leadership skills to middle and high school-age youth, with an emphasis on mentoring and giving back to the youngest members of their community. This idea requires a far more involved human-centered iterative process.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)

Little Ripples Global Citizens is a new way to engage young children in empathy and global citizenship. Over the last 15 years of working within the anti-genocide sphere, iACT often here's people saying that children are too young to understand or learn about the violence that occurs in our world. While we agree that graphic details are inappropriate, we believe that children at their core understand kindness and from that empathy can be embraced and facilitated. A curriculum targeting preschoolers that discusses refugees, the refugee experience, and then creates a connection between refugee and nonrefugee children of the same age is entirely a new idea that combines early childhood development, empathy, and global citizenship. This idea is so unique that the Illinois Holocuast Museum and Education Center added the curriculum and resource box to its K-2 Teaching Trunk program. What is also unique is that this curriculum has been piloted with different types of education settings: homeschool, dual immersion, kindergarten, and preschools. Further, this curriculum is needed now more than ever, especially in the United States. There are more than 65 million people who are displaced worldwide. Increasingly, the word refugee has a negative connotation that is driving communities apart. A curriculum that works with children, creates a seed that is brought home and planted in families. Just as the environmental movement successfully launched recycling at schools before it became part of the mainstream household, we are beginning our work with schools to foster empathy and global citizenship in the youngest generation.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Little Ripples Global Citizens has never received development or scaling funds. November 2017 is the first time it was available for purchase, after 18 months of piloting. Within one month, iACT shipped five boxes. We are only just beginning our outreach and marketing strategy. Ideas we have been working with: First, the “buy one, give one” model would double the number of children impacted with each purchase. Second, get the curriculum online through Google Classroom or the Carey Institute for Global Good’s Academy for Refugee Educators to make it more accessible and iterative on an ongoing basis. Parents, caregivers, and educators would be able to access the online version, implementing with resources they have on hand, without the resource box. Third, a social enterprise pipedream of iACT’s has been to create a children’s book that matches with and is part of the Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum. The premise is that a young child in the Los Angeles area, Luna, completes the Global Citizens curriculum all while her peer, Leila, in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad, finishes her early childhood development at Little Ripples. They learn about and from each other during this time only to meet as teenagers at a global leadership conference. The book would be available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the program (possibly its expansion to Head Start programs) and also be part of the Global Citizens and Little Ripples resource boxes.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

The last 18-24 months of work has progressed under the leadership of myself, iACT’s Chief Operating Officer, a team of volunteer expert advisors, and the preschools who piloted the early versions of the program. In October 2017, our team finalized the curriculum and resource box after incorporating extensive learnings from the previous 18 months. Currently, iACT has the capacity to maintain Little Ripples Global Citizens in its current stage of personalized outreach and can assemble boxes as they are ordered, but needs support to get the curriculum online, increase outreach through targeted marketing, and expand on elements of the curriculum—such as the Global Citizens children’s book—that would strengthen its impact. Currently, iACT is charging $600 per Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum and resource box. Through research, iACT has found that $600 for a curriculum and resources is market price when compared to similar curricula. Two recent orders represent the diversity of how the curriculum can be distributed. Iolani School in Honolulu, HI, a K-12 private school, ordered a box for its Operation Raising Awareness for Darfur (Operation RAD) club. In 2018, Operation RAD members plan to teach the curriculum to the kindergarten classes, incorporating the curriculum with every year moving forward. Additionally, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center ordered several boxes to incorporate into its Teacher Training Trunks, which annually reach over 700 students across 11 states. Exploring further relationships like these, where outreach and impact is done in partnership, will increase the feasibility of access and expansion. Through an ideation session at iACT’s recent annual retreat of staff, board, and volunteer team members, iACT began exploring the idea of creating an exclusive partnership with a single preschool franchise such as Montessori, a curriculum developer such as Pearson, or even a business such as Little Passports. Although not flushed out, it’s an idea we are beginning to explore in order to maximize reach. In January and February 2018, iACT is planning on creating strategic marketing and operations plans to further develop the ideas listed in this prize application. This process will include ideation sessions using at least two different methods. First, iACT will challenge assumptions around early childhood care and development product models to create new avenues of marketing and distribution. Second, iACT will utilize the SCAMPER method of substitute, combine, adapt, modify (also magnify and minify), put to another use, eliminate, and reverse to rethink the impact, delivery, and expansion of Global Citizens. We believe in the potential impact of Little Ripples Global Citizens to create a generation of more empathetic leaders with a global perspective. These ideation sessions will help iACT seek out innovative approaches to expanding the impact of this unique early childhood care and development tool.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)

Our two ideation sessions have been rescheduled for March due to significant changes in the delivery of our other programs.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)

Global Citizens was developed over a two year period in four different preschool settings. It was built entirely upon the human-centered design process. Not only did preschools in Los Angeles pilot two versions over the two years, a homeschool in Washington State and a French School in Portland, OR also tested and provided feedback on the curriculum. Long term, it is our hope that the curriculum can be moved to an online platform where educators can directly incorporate their feedback, post the activities they did for each lesson, and where iACT can maintain the personal connection by providing new and relevant stories, multi-media, videos, and eventually a digital connection between classrooms.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

Global Citizens was created to meet requests by preschool and kindergarten teachers in the U.S. who wanted their children to connect with children attending Little Ripples, an early childhood education program that trains and employs refugee women to provide culturally-inspired preschool education to improve the early development of refugee children exposed to conflict. After learning about the success of Little Ripples in camps in eastern Chad, the teachers knew the lives of their students could be impacted, but needed a curriculum and packaged resources to effectively create the connection. Little Ripples began at the request of Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. Immediately after hearing the request, iACT assembled a team of global experts and asked the team, “What is the best possible, most innovative preschool program we can offer?” Once we put everything on the table, we asked the experts to utilize the refugee community as the primary asset and look at the remote, desert environment as a resource. The play-based, trauma-aware, culturally-relevant Little Ripples framework that was then completed by the refugee women during teacher training sessions was the result. Little Ripples has adapted to further environmental constraints and moved from a school-based to an in-home model, making it an even stronger community-based model. Refugees in the original camp have now opened new centers with iACT support and helped iACT expand the program to new camps in the region, furthering program ownership and capacity within the Darfuri refugee diaspora. iACT has been working to provide replicable, sustainable, and scalable early childhood development tools, trainings, and curricula that meet the unique needs of refugee children while also building capacity and restoring dignity within the refugee community. All of iACT’s camp-based programs are refugee-led, from solution identification to program creation to expansion. All too often, the youngest (ages zero to five) of the world’s most vulnerable populations are left behind with little-to-no effective developmental support. iACT wants to change that. We believe that by providing early childhood care and development at the earliest stages will create future productive and effective leaders who will be part of breaking the cycles of violence endemic to refugee communities.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

iACT would love to work with as many early childhood care and development centers around the country. This would include offering the curriculum to home-based caregivers who can deliver it in small groups (like mommy and me classes!) or in a homeschool environment (iACT did pilot Global Citizens with one homeschool in WA). If the center serves children ages three to five, regardless of how or where, we believe Little Ripples Global Citizens can be an effective and impactful tool.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

iACT’s team of paid and volunteer members has significant experience in project management, early childhood development, curriculum development, and human-centered design and ideation. We are currently looking for help with: Marketing: to effectively and strategically expand the impact of our early childhood development intervention. Design: to transform the average cardboard box that the resources are shipped in to become part of the curriculum. How can students creatively turn the box into a model of a Little Ripples in-home, refugee camp-based center, to help them discover the similarities and differences between their own classroom and these centers? Sourcing: to re-envision the supply chain of the resource box and curriculum notebooks, to decrease costs and maximize impact. Illustration: to transform the Global Citizens book from an idea and text into images, as well as publishing the book. iACT is always looking for experts to add to our network of over 90 volunteers who contribute to our tools, trainings, and curricula.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

As noted above, iACT would love to connect with mentors interested in providing business, marketing, design, and publishing advice.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

Little Ripples Global Citizens: https://www.iactivism.org/impact/global-citizens/ iACT Staff Bios: https://www.iactivism.org/about/staff/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/iactivism/ https://twitter.com/iact

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.

Mentorship: How was your idea supported? (5000 characters)

iACT submitted two ideas to this prize and received one mentor. We opted to use our mentor session for our other idea, Book of Masks, which is an idea that is only months old and we felt would benefit more from a mentorship relationship.

Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

Our concept has evolved in the expansion of the language of our resources. Most of the evolution hasn't occurred in the product itself but rather exploring the opportunities for its distribution through ideation sessions scheduled for March.

Name or Organization

i-ACT, Inc.

Geography

We are located in Redondo Beach, CA and our curriculum is available nationwide.

What is your stage of development?

  • Early Stage Innovator, with at least one-year experience in ECD

Type

  • Non - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

Global Citizens fosters connections and meaningful learning opportunities for children as global ambassadors. It is a historic experience for the youngest members of our community which will plant seeds of compassion and interdependence that will last a lifetime.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Global Citizens is a one-of-a-kind program for children ages three to five, that creates the foundation for global ambassadorship by fostering a personal relationship with refugee peers while integrating mindfulness, play-based learning, nonviolent communication, and human rights, through activities that meet national early-learning standards. iACT has not come across any other program that is both whole-child-focused and offers a direct connection to and between young children in the U.S. with their counterparts living in refugee camps.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Global Citizens (GC) is a U.S.-based preschool curriculum that connects children with their peers living in refugee camps in eastern Chad and attending Little Ripples preschool centers, through empathy-based and developmentally appropriate tools, activities, and resources that meet nationally-recognized preschool learning foundations. Little Ripples is an adaptable and efficient education innovation that builds the capacity of refugee women to improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three through in-home, state-of- the-art, customized education. Global Citizens fosters connection and empathy, and creates the foundation for global ambassadorship at the earliest stages of development in the next generation. Global Citizens is a four-week, daily curriculum that can be used with and tailored to a diversity of preschool philosophies. Each day, the program begins with simple mindfulness and breathing exercises that Little Ripples students also participate in. Just as Little Ripples utilizes play-based and student-driven components, so does Global Citizens. Additionally, each daily lesson includes an objective, resources, and activities that teach students about themselves and the life of their refugee peers, while focusing on social-emotional development, language and literacy, language development (can be tailored to dual-immersion language programs), mathematics, science, performing arts, physical development, health, history–social.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Global Citizens fosters connections and meaningful learning opportunities for children as global citizens. It is a historic experience for youngsters which will plant seeds of compassion and interdependence that will last a lifetime. This experience is a safe way to share, within preschool communities, the joys of participation, cultural ambassadorship, and empathy-based living, while meeting early childhood development learning foundations.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

There are more than 65 million refugee and displaced people in our world today. More than half of all refugees are children. In the last few years, the word “refugee” has become a dirty word with negative connotations. In a global society, in which migration and displacement are at the highest levels since World War II, we must begin to foster empathy and provide our children with global education. Over an 18-month period, iACT partnered with My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids in Redondo Beach, CA, and Oaks School in Los Angeles, CA, to pilot and improve upon the Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum. The result is a four-week, daily curriculum that can be used with and tailored to a diversity of preschool philosophies and learning spaces. Each day, the program begins with simple mindfulness and breathing exercises that Little Ripples students also participate in. Just as Little Ripples utilizes play-based and student-driven components, so does GC. Additionally, each daily lesson includes an objective, resources, and highly interactive activities that teach students about themselves and the life of their refugee peers, while focusing on social-emotional development, language and literacy, language development (can be tailored to dual-immersion language programs), mathematics, science, performing arts, physical development, health, history–social science, and science. The curriculum is organized into one preparation week and four active teaching weeks, each with themes and activities that support the four Cs for 21st century thinking: critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. The weekly themes are: Prep Week, Teacher, Parent, and School Introduction: Through a series of activities, teachers familiarize themselves with the curriculum and develop a program that meets their school’s mission and vision while maintaining the mission and vision of Global Citizens. This includes parent/guardian rollout, readings, and extensions. Week 1, Connecting and Exploring: Students explore their world as well as the world in which the Darfuri refugees live. Students make a personal connection by “meeting” Guisma and her family. Students learn about being healthy. Week 2, Family and Community: Students define and explore home, family, and school—their own as well as those of their peers in the refugee camps. Week 3, Culture: Students share aspects of their daily lives, including games, food, the environment, and occupations, making connections to how life in the camps is similar or different from their own. Students begin to learn about taking action as part of a global community. Week 4, The 4 Cs: Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and innovation: Students learn about rights, needs, and wants through the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). They reflect and share how they feel about what they have learned. The curriculum culminates in a social justice-based activity with which students create a community charter for living peacefully with their new Darfuri friends. Rather than having a rigid structure, the Global Citizens 20-Unit Lesson Plan is a guide that offers parents, teachers, and caregivers a practical way to teach about the refugee experience while adapting to the unique needs of their students, classroom, and school philosophy. Each weekly theme is organized into five lessons which provide a lesson objective, an overview of learning foundations, the CRC right addressed, a lesson guide, and an activity suggestion. In addition to the Lesson Plan, educators receive the Little Ripples Global Citizens resource box. This box includes a Global Citizens Program Binder (lesson plan, resource list, mindfulness exercises, handouts, and curriculum evaluation); over 50+ English-Arabic Global Citizens flashcards with images, definitions, and Arabic phonetic pronunciations; kid-friendly world map; children’s books: Four Feet, Two Sandals, My Two Blankets, What Do You Do with an Idea, Rain School, and Lucia's Neighborhood; wooden chime; African fabric; desert animals; Little Ripples scarf; Darfur United mini ball; and a unique profile of a Darfuri refugee. This curriculum fosters empathy in the next generation at the youngest stage of development. It adaptable to any preschool philosophy and our goal is to get this curriculum into early learning and preschool centers across the United States. Let us begin fostering global relationships at a young age in order to truly equip the next generation of leaders with 21st century skills for a global society.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Children in early childhood care and development centers serving children ages three to five (but also as young as two and up to kindergarten-age) will directly benefit the most from Global Citizens. The program will cultivate globally-minded generations of children who, by celebrating similarities and differences between peers and themselves, will see the world as one. Inline with UNESCO’s approach to global education, Global Citizens will “nurture respect for all, build a sense of belonging to a common humanity, and help learners become responsible and active global citizens” at the earliest stages of development. iACT is a facilitator of tools, training, and curricula that create a new culture of participation for people facing and responding to humanitarian crises. We place the beneficiary at the heart of each program and work with beneficiaries to co-create, manage, and expand impact. All of our programs have teams of global experts who tirelessly contribute to the co-creation of our programs from start to finish, as result of our fostering personal relationships between volunteer team members and beneficiaries. iACT used this model to successfully create the Little Ripples program, which received the 2016 WISE award for Innovation in Education.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We do not need to wait until elementary school, middle, or high school to introduce our children to the global community. Schools around the world have adopted global citizenship, service learning, and student-emergent practices in their classrooms with the purpose of creating personal and community awareness, fostering cultural empathy to help inform decisions, increasing civic engagement, and creating the space for more principled decision-making. iACT believes that extending these practices to the early childhood experience will further global progress towards meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education. Target 4.7 calls for education that promotes sustainable development and global citizenship by specifically focusing on “human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.” While maintaining emphasis on early childhood learning outcomes, Little Ripples Global Citizens provides adaptable lesson plans that connect children with an experience that one of their peers is having, teach them to celebrate the diversity of their experiences, and to be advocates for themselves and their peers. By integrating the foundations of nonviolent communication, stimulating collaboration and creativity, and allowing space for free play that leads to peer-communication, we are preparing the next generation of leaders.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

The Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum and resource box can be purchased for $600. This covers the cost of materials and shipping with the minimal leftover funds being reinvested into the Little Ripples refugee camp-based program. iACT’s expert advisors are thinking of two ways that we could reach low-income children. First, we could offer a premium rate for the curriculum at $1,000 for a “buy one, give one” model. The “give one” curriculum and box would be provided to a Head Start program or a low-income school looking to support Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment. iACT would make it easy for Head Start programs or Title IV-A schools to sign up on a first-applied, first-provided list. Second, iACT could partner with a middle or high school club or class to train a set of ambassadors in the curriculum. The ambassadors would then go into preschool or kindergarten classrooms to facilitate the daily lessons. This service learning, mentorship-oriented model would allow the club or class to interact with six-eight preschool or kindergarten classrooms throughout the year using only one curriculum and resource box. This model also provides essential leadership skills to middle and high school-age youth, with an emphasis on mentoring and giving back to the youngest members of their community. This idea requires a far more involved human-centered iterative process.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Further, this curriculum is needed now more than ever, especially in the United States. There are more than 65 million people who are displaced worldwide. Increasingly, the word refugee has a negative connotation that is driving communities apart. A curriculum that works with children, creates a seed that is brought home and planted in families. Just as the environmental movement successfully launched recycling at schools before it became part of the mainstream household, we are beginning our work with schools to foster empathy and global citizenship in the youngest generation.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Little Ripples Global Citizens has never received development or scaling funds. November 2017 is the first time it was available for purchase, after 18 months of piloting. Within one month, iACT shipped five boxes. We are only just beginning our outreach and marketing strategy. Ideas we have been working with: First, the “buy one, give one” model would double the number of children impacted with each purchase. Second, get the curriculum online through Google Classroom or the Carey Institute for Global Good’s Academy for Refugee Educators to make it more accessible and iterative on an ongoing basis. Parents, caregivers, and educators would be able to access the online version, implementing with resources they have on hand, without the resource box. Third, a social enterprise pipedream of iACT’s has been to create a children’s book that matches with and is part of the Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum. The premise is that a young child in the Los Angeles area, Luna, completes the Global Citizens curriculum all while her peer, Leila, in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad, finishes her early childhood development at Little Ripples. They learn about and from each other during this time only to meet as teenagers at a global leadership conference. The book would be available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the program (possibly its expansion to Head Start programs) and also be part of the Global Citizens and Little Ripples resource boxes.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

The last 18-24 months of work has progressed under the leadership of myself, iACT’s Chief Operating Officer, a team of volunteer expert advisors, and the preschools who piloted the early versions of the program. In October 2017, our team finalized the curriculum and resource box after incorporating extensive learnings from the previous 18 months. Currently, iACT has the capacity to maintain Little Ripples Global Citizens in its current stage of personalized outreach and can assemble boxes as they are ordered, but needs support to get the curriculum online, increase outreach through targeted marketing, and expand on elements of the curriculum—such as the Global Citizens children’s book—that would strengthen its impact. Currently, iACT is charging $600 per Little Ripples Global Citizens curriculum and resource box. Through research, iACT has found that $600 for a curriculum and resources is market price when compared to similar curricula. Two recent orders represent the diversity of how the curriculum can be distributed. Iolani School in Honolulu, HI, a K-12 private school, ordered a box for its Operation Raising Awareness for Darfur (Operation RAD) club. In 2018, Operation RAD members plan to teach the curriculum to the kindergarten classes, incorporating the curriculum with every year moving forward. Additionally, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center ordered several boxes to incorporate into its Teacher Training Trunks, which annually reach over 700 students across 11 states. Exploring further relationships like these, where outreach and impact is done in partnership, will increase the feasibility of access and expansion. Through an ideation session at iACT’s recent annual retreat of staff, board, and volunteer team members, iACT began exploring the idea of creating an exclusive partnership with a single preschool franchise such as Montessori, a curriculum developer such as Pearson, or even a business such as Little Passports. Although not flushed out, it’s an idea we are beginning to explore in order to maximize reach. In January and February 2018, iACT is planning on creating strategic marketing and operations plans to further develop the ideas listed in this prize application. This process will include ideation sessions using at least two different methods. First, iACT will challenge assumptions around early childhood care and development product models to create new avenues of marketing and distribution. Second, iACT will utilize the SCAMPER method of substitute, combine, adapt, modify (also magnify and minify), put to another use, eliminate, and reverse to rethink the impact, delivery, and expansion of Global Citizens. We believe in the potential impact of Little Ripples Global Citizens to create a generation of more empathetic leaders with a global perspective. These ideation sessions will help iACT seek out innovative approaches to expanding the impact of this unique early childhood care and development tool.

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Photo of Irena Kobald
Team

Dear Openideo Team,
I am so totally touched to discover MY TWO BLANKETS in your 'Global Citizens' Resource Box'.
Please let me know if I can help/assist you in any way.
My own long-term dream for this story is to create a double-sided blanket, using the colours of the book to interweave two languages on a natural material like wool or bamboo and to then give this real, tangible blanket to learners of a new language. ... and it could also be part of your 'Resource Box'.
Good Luck to all your undertakings! What a wonderful idea!
Irena Kobald
Author
MY TWO BLANKETS, Australia

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