Citizenship means being a member of and supporting one’s community and country. Every country citizen has certain freedoms which are declared in the Bill of Rights. In addition to these privileges, a citizen has an obligation to be informed, law abiding, and uphold basic democratic principles such as tolerance and civic responsibility. Voting, conserving natural resources, and taking care of oneself are all part of citizenship. In addition, citizens often participate in local community projects dedicated to the common good.
In response to concerns about our youths ethical development, Youth Care Projects is commencing character education programs of which citizenship is a part. Most educators agree that helping children understand their rights and obligations as a Nigerian citizen needs to be reinforced in all grades.
Educators are obligated to teach students the history of our democracy on a level people can comprehend. Helping students explore citizenship and connecting it to their lives are the keys to true understanding. When children and youths are exposed to storytelling, drama, and other activities in which they are actively involved, their retention is increased. If they learn that people from other countries are not necessarily free to voice dissenting opinions, practice their religion, or even have as many children as they would like, the students will begin to appreciate their freedoms.
Hearing accounts of people who fought for and founded Nigeria will increase their awareness. Youths need to be taught that citizens of the Nigeria are not free by accident, but because individuals made great sacrifices to protect their rights. Learning the history of our symbols such as our flag, our patriotic men and women will contribute to their insight.
Some of our programs will include;
- Discussions on rights and responsibilities of citizens.
- Define a good citizen and have the students share personal stories about when they exhibited citizenship. For example:
- I was friendly to a new child from a different country.
- I helped clean up the park.
- My mom and I passed out voter pamphlets.
- I collected used toys and clothes for needy children.
- I walked away from a fight.
- I said “no” when a friend asked me to steal money from another child.
- I wear my bike helmet and follow other bike safety rules.
- I wait for the signal to cross the street and I stay in the crosswalk.
- Students description of what would happen if there were no rules or laws at home, in school, in traffic or against stealing, attacking, etc.
- Involve them in making classroom rules. Discuss why rules are important and have them define the consequences if they are broken.
- Students to interview a veteran, immigrant, or person who lived through the War and Austerity Times.
- Be involved in writing poem, story, play or song about citizenship, and perform the activities
- Students to search for local citizens who generously contribute to the good of the community. Thank or honor them in some way.
- Read, analyze and debate newspaper articles on various topics concerning civic life.
- Create a video on “Nigerian Life” or another related topic.
- Invite speakers to share their knowledge of Nigeria history or portray historical characters.
- Read stories about extraordinary People and then act out the stories.
- An understanding of the country’s founding documents
- Take photographs in their community for a book entitled “Our Freedoms,” “Our Citizens” or another related topic.
- Attend local city council meetings, school board meetings or court sessions. Visit historical museums, monuments, and/or national parks.
- Involved in patriotic songs to sing at a parent program, school or community event.
- Create a presentation to teach others Nigeria history, Flag, symbolism, care and proper display.
- Discuss taxes and why our local, state and national governments need income for police, firemen, prisons, roads, etc.
- Support a school-wide student council composed of representatives from each classroom.
- Encourage students to participate in community service projects such as recycling, picking up litter, and volunteering for other worthwhile projects.