Wants & Needs work with Year 6 at Liss

Greetings to all of our friends in Kafuro. We have heard that there is the possibility of P7 returning to school on September 20th. We hope that this works out and that you are able to resume your learning before Primary Leaving Examinations.

Year 6 at Liss Junior School have begun their work on the wants and needs learning that takes place in the UK every year and allows us to make some comparisons with Kafuro.

Our first task was to give each pair of children the outline of a child and  to give the outlined child a name. Next, we discussed what this child would need to grow up into a happy and healthy adult. The children were set the task of identifying twenty things that would help the child achieve this. At this point there was no input and the children could completely decide for themselves.

Once the pupils had completed their twenty things that a child would need, they wrote them on post its and placed them in the middle of the child. Next, they were asked to remove five of the things that the child could do without – this reduced the items to fifiteen. This exercise was repeated twice more and generated a lot of debate on each table as the children argued over what should stay. Eventually, each group had five items left which they shared with the rest of the class and compared.

Our next step was to introduce UNICEF wants and needs cards and perform a similar exercise. However, firstly the children were asked to divide the cards into three groups: those they thought were Most ImportantImportant and Least Important. Then, once again, Mr Stanley asked the pupils to reduce the cards down to just five, and the classroom became very animated as the children had to make some very difficult decisions over what should stay and what should go. It was interesting to see how the children made their choices compared with previous years. Although there were a lot of similarities, there were also some notable differences. This will be shared in a future blog post.

Once the pupils had completed this exercise, they compared the five wants and needs they had left with the post its they had created in the previious lesson. As a class, we then discussed the difference between wants and needs.

Needs: the things that are absolutely necessary for all children to have a happy and healthy life

Wants:the things that are nice to have but not necessary for a full life.

We finished this first session by discussing some key questions: Are wants and needs different for people in the UK and Uganda? Why don’t all children in the world have what they need?

To the first question, the pupils were quite clear that needs would be the same in both countries. However, there was an acknowledgement that wants would be different. For example, a pupil in the UK might want a Playstation or an Xbox, but for a pupil in Uganda, where electricity is scarce in places, a new bike would be something that they might really want. We were able to use Eben’s expertise as he was able to tell us that growing up in Malawi there were often power cuts, so what was the point of having a console?

The pupils were y not shocked that children in the world didn’t have everything they need. We discussed some of the reasons why this may be so:

  • War
  • Some countries don’t have enough money to feed people
  • Some governments are corrupt
  • Exploitation of poorer countries by richer countries
  • Climate change

There was widespread disbelief in the class that millions of people go hungry in the world when there is more than enough food to feed everyone comfortably.

Next, the pupils looked at the needs of children are protected. We studied the United Nations Charter for the rights of the Child. It was interesting to see the children make links with their work in the first session. One group were delighted to see that the right to play was enshrined in their convention and felt that justified them placing ‘play’ in their final five cards.

In our next session we will be trying to marry up each need from the first session with other rights in the charter.

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