Very early in my career I began thinking about the power of children’s voices. I remember standing in front of my Grade 6 class in a practicum sharing about Malala Yousafzai’s life. It wasn’t necessarily her message that created profundity, it was the fact that the message was being delivered on the wings of a child. A girl who was resisting against an extremist group. Greta Thunberg and Iqbal Masih are two examples of children who used their voice and altered people’s perspectives. Demanded them to think differently. 

When we pass children the mic; when we give them something to speak about and reflect on, they surprise us. Astound us even, and prove that perhaps our future is in better hands than we could even imagine. 
This term, I knew how important it was to pass my students the mic and have them give a voice to a piece of our world that has been silenced – nature. 

Designing and creating such a project was done with great intention. I knew this was only the beginning and that if my students were going to begin advocating for nature, they first needed to build a relationship with it and to it. The Nature Matters project was not created out of simply design but rather intentional planning, focus, and direction. It was created with the curriculum as the vessel allowing us to then create art. 

Simply put, this project speaks for itself. It’s art. Poetic, profound, simple and most importantly delivered on the wings of children. 

Our children have so much to say, and it is projects like this that the messages can be delivered far beyond the walls of my classroom and our school. 

Make art – create, invent with intention, and pass kids the mic.!

– Ashley Aoki, Educator and Graduate Student

Ashley Aoki

Author Ashley Aoki

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