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‘Kids On Earth’ worldwide ‘Global Kids’ project

Altrincham Preparatory School has been delighted to work with and be part of a worldwide project led by Howard Blumenthal. Howard is an American television and new media producer, author, educator, and executive, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in New York City and nearby suburbs, he is the son of author and Concentration producer Norm Blumenthal, and the grandson of radio and music retailer Harry Blumenthal. He is best known as the co-creator and producer of the Peabody Award winning series, about geography and world cultures for children, 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' 

Currently, Blumenthal is developing the Global Kids project, an initiative to use technology as a means to connect children from different countries and cultures. The objective is simple: to provide children and teenagers around the world with the opportunity to talk about their lives, their hopes and dreams. Monday 4th December saw Mrs. McKenna and a group of Altrincham Preparatory School boys, from Years 4, 5 and 6 engage in this worldwide project. This is what Howard had to say: 

A note from Howard :

Kids on Earth has now traveled to several schools to learn about the lives of local children and teenagers. We began in Kampala, Uganda at four different schools, then traveled to Hong Kong for children from several nations studying at a school for musical theater. Our third stop on what has become a world tour was Altrincham.

It’s interesting to note that all three places are, or have been, associated with England. In both Kampala and Altrincham, students were carefully dressed in uniform, quite disciplined in their approach to learning, and wonderfully curious about the world. In fact, the similarities were striking, and so were the differences. The Hong Kong school was more informal because it presents an after-school program.

What have we learned so far? For this generation of children and teenagers, similarities far outnumber differences. Everybody reads Harry Potter, everybody dresses in a similar way, everybody enjoys similar school subjects (science has proven especially popular). It may seem obvious, but every child is deeply involved with their family. Everybody travels, perhaps some not as far as others, but there is a sense of international curiosity that everyone seems to share. Surprisingly, there was far less discussion about spending time online than I would have expected—this is so dominant in the U.S.

Through the winter months, we will be editing the interviews and posting them online with maps and commentary. As the weather improves, we’ll be off to visit other places. In the interim, we plan to record additional interviews with Russian and Ukrainian middle school children outside Philadelphia, and children from Puerto Rico who live in Pennsylvania. New partners have offered to record interviews with kids in Afghanistan and Pakistan, too—in languages other than English. We also hope to visit Mexico or South America in the spring.

Kids on Earth has only just begun, and we are extremely grateful for the help and enthusiasm provided by the students and staff of APS. We will be back in touch when there is video to be reviewed by parents, and then, by the rest of the community.

Thanks for the help, and for making me feel so welcome.

HB

The school will keep you informed on when we can see our boys interviews on the Kids on Earth website.  

‘Kids On Earth’ worldwide ‘Global Kids’ project

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