Background: Kidspeak is an environment-based curriculum project that gives children a voice in the future of their community. Our curriculum development modules teach students how to identify community problems important to them and provide tools and resources for them to take action. As a result of just one of these projects, elementary school students in Salt Lake City were inspired to tackle toxic waste in their neighborhood. The students’ efforts led the EPA to remediate the toxic brownfield, declared it a Superfund site, and awarded the children for their efforts during a ceremony in Washington, DC.
YouthCity Speak builds upon this success by developing new urban environmental education modules for YouthCity programs nationwide. Like Kidspeak, the program is designed to raise youth’s awareness, and increase their understanding of the social and environmental problems in their community that inspire action.
The modules teach youth how to become empowered and meaningfully engaged in their community. They are designed to guide youth through projects that address social and environmental justice issues and teach them how to find their own solutions to those problems.
7 + hours of lessons
In this module, students will explore how their lives are linked to everything in their communities and ecosystems at varying scales. Through personal and group exploration, students will begin to understand our role in our ecosystem and how the decisions we make directly affect all living things.
Understanding sustainability and our role in our ecosystem is crucial to the overall health of our environment and the way it functions. Through this module, students will begin to understand systems thinking and will be able to see many more of their connections to the community and the environment. Students will learn to appreciate the many things we use in our daily lives. They will become aware of our dependence on things in nature and that what we do to our resources in nature, we are ultimately doing to ourselves.
7.5 (+) hours of lessons
In this module, students will learn to look at their communities in new ways. This module is designed to encourage youth to critically assess the way their communities function, look, and feel. It will help youth make a positive impact in their community, neighborhood, or school and thereby give them a sense of ownership and pride in the future of their community.
The module is designed to present issues that will impact the future quality of life in the student’s neighborhood, community, city, and/or state. The issues identified by the students will be focused within their own community, but will enhance their understanding of how local problems have implications for the nation and even the world. The process engages students in thinking critically as they identify issues and develop strategies to address those issues.