Have you had conversations with your little ones about how to care for people and other living things that share our communities? Especially during challenging times, such as navigating a health pandemic or seeing unfair laws put into practice, we may be looking for ways to act and create change for ourselves and the people we care about. Civics is about how we are, and what we do, as members of communities. Carla Shalaby, a former elementary school teacher who is now an education researcher and writer, shares, “When we are civically healthy, we participate actively and responsibly in our communities. We behave in ways that support the rights of all people and other living things to be healthy, happy, and whole.” In our Civic Wellbeing Toolkit, she offers suggestions for nurturing the civic health and wellbeing of young children.
At Cool Culture, we believe every person has power, no matter their age. How have you or the children in your care exercised your voices and power? How would you like to use art and culture to help amplify your voices? “Our voice is a powerful civic muscle,” shares Carla, “and it needs exercise just like the muscles in our body.” While we might not be able to completely stop or fix unfair things as they happen, together with others we can stand up against injustice and make demands for fairness so that over time, we create change together with our children for a more fair world. We invite our families to reflect, how will we exercise our voices, our votes, and our power?
Cool Culture’s Health + Wellbeing Toolkits are designed to support discussions about individual, family and community health and wellness. Each Toolkit is informed by conversations with our network of families, educators, and other partners across New York City. We hope this Civic Wellbeing Toolkit helps our community members come away with knowledge of the power individuals and families have to make life happier and healthier for members of their communities and actionable first steps to move towards a vision of wellbeing for ourselves and all living things.
You can download electronic copies of our Civic Wellbeing Toolkits for your home or classroom in English, Spanish, and Chinese. They include civic wellbeing resources, a Rights & Responsibilities art-making activity, and a museum feature to encourage use of your Family Pass.