A New Norm: Tick

The Never Ending Plastic

While the world has stopped, I want to take the opportunity to create a new normal.

I believe in empowering kids by giving them a voice: by giving them “the right to write”. That’s the ethos of the Australian company I founded and launched in 2018, called Littlescribe. We’re an online educational writing platform.

Last week Littlescribe had its most powerful moment yet. It joined forces with 30 collaborators – organisations like National Geographic, WWF and UNESCO – under the banner of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and TED-Ed. On Earth Day, UNEP and TED-Ed launched “Earth School”. It’s a response to the COVID-19 crisis to help students, parents and teachers around the world who are currently at home.

Earth School will take students on a 30-day “Adventure” through the natural world and Littlescribe is so proud to be creating content for every school day, providing different materials for five age groups. That means we will be behind 150 individual projects on the platform.

Littlescribe’s ethos is to listen to a child’s perspective. When it comes to Earth School and the environment, I’m very conscious – as the mum of a primary school-age child and a high school kid – that it’s their world. It’s their earth.

It’s incredibly powerful to understand and get a sense of not just how the children of the world are feeling about the earth, but what actions they want to take.

Our job is to understand what they are attached to, what they are connected to and what it means to them. This project can give them a space and an opportunity to let that happen.

When we got talking with the UNEP about Earth School, we were able to show them – instantly – beautiful work and capable work by Aussie kids that we were really proud of. This work has been created by kids on the Littlescribe platform and uploaded there.

So when the UNEP indicated it needed access for all? Tick. It also needed a collaborator with the ability to curate content for specific ages, which was both inspirational and appropriate. Tick.

Our structure and philosophy supports the needs of what the UNEP was looking to achieve: with the Littlescribe activities, people will be able to see the outcomes – writing, drawing and photography projects that can be uploaded to Littlescribe’s United Nations Earth School Library.

That will allow the big people to see what the kids are thinking and what they want to do about the world.

For me, when the kids’ work is seen by the rest of the world, that is when we will create a new normal. It’s a phrase I use a bit. Let the new norm be that children’s writing is revered, respected and read.

These kids are going to do a damn fine job of looking after this world and are capable of doing some really extraordinary things. They can see and communicate in a raw, real way: messages that we sometimes make too complicated. And they’re not that complicated. They can be simple and strong.

The opportunity to see kids’ perspectives unfiltered and to read what kids are thinking is pretty powerful. To get into the heads and hearts and souls of kids and to get that perspective? There’s a lot to be learned from it.

By Jenny Atkinson
Published: Monday 27th April 2020