Back 2 School: How Cape Town’s French School is creating Young Changemakers
We all want the best for future generations. We want them to thrive, and not just survive. Part of thriving is for kids to learn, from an early age, that we all play an individual role in making the world a better place.
Take Greta Thunberg, a young environmental activist, who at the age of 15 organised strikes to create awareness around the lack of priority for climate change. Greta, who now has over 4 million followers, is empowering fellow activists in calling out global and corporate leaders to do better. Most recently, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
We all have the potential to be changemakers, no matter our age.
Now, Lycée Français du Cap, the Cape Town French School, is actively living this truth with their students. Celine Gimenez, the school teacher championing the overall Brownie Points movement, noticed that not only could Brownie Points support current activities and acts of kindness, but could also give their students a chance to practice and own citizen leadership skills, by creating relevant causes and getting others excited to join them.
“Brownie Points arrived just at the right time. We had already started to implement “acts of kindness” in our community – using Game for Humanity and posters where the students could nominate a friend that helped them or that has been nice with him/her – and all these tools were very well used by the students. With Brownie Points, they have been able to create their own causes that are very important to them, shaping the vibe and atmosphere they want to develop at school. They become more aware of the needs of others and new habits are being formed. By using new technologies, we also show our students a very positive use of the internet, turned towards others.” – Celine Gimenez, Teacher
So far, the kids have completed 24 good deeds and made 25 additional commitments. The school currently has active campaigns revolving around 4 different themes, including well-being, kindness, environment and solidarity. And with over 20 causes, the kids have lots to engage with!
“I like Brownie Points, because it is easy to access, there is a lot of inspiring actions and it is very secure.” – Raphael, Grade 5
Creating more awareness and activity around the environment is a big priority at the school. Greta would be so proud!
“As an Eco-School, earning a new label every year, we have been very active on the sustainability side of and our students are fully involved in the different actions led by the school, including recycling, beach cleanups, solidarity initiatives and movie nights.” – Celine
Beyond engaging the kids in being active changemakers, the school is using good deeds as a way to combat bullying, using lessons around empathy and kindness as a more effective approach over punishment.
“At the French School of Cape Town, we value positive reinforcement and we aim towards encouragements as opposed to punishments. Thanks to Brownie Points, our students regularly engage with each other and with the broader community in pledging their involvement to make the world a better place.” – Olivia Ashby, Principal
“As teachers, we constantly engage with our students to encourage them to make the right decisions. We create awareness in our teaching to help them to recognize, on a daily basis, what it means to be part of a community and to identify situations that are unfair or unacceptable. In case of a student misbehaving, he/she has to “replace” the time (quietness, peace, well-being, safety…) stolen from the others ones by creating goodness/kindness.” – Celine
The school is taking it one step further: Integrating pro-social activities into the formalised curriculum. A recent article about a similar approach taken by an Irish school talks about this growing trend in the educational space and is already showing positive results.
“We often say: “Teaching is repeating”. By multiplying the ways to repeat good behaviour, we set our students for a win, and that is what really matters!” – Celine
We at Brownie Points are so proud of the kids, teachers and parents at the Cape Town French School and we are looking forward to sharing more news in the future.
If you’re interested in getting more kids engaged or schools involved, get in touch with us on social media (@browniepointsSA) or email us at [email protected].
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