Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 301–312 | Cite as

Becoming Globally Competent Citizens: A Learning Journey of Two Classrooms in an Interconnected World

  • Angela K. Salmon
  • Maria Victoria Gangotena
  • Kiriaki Melliou


Globally competent people are aware of world issues, take perspective, are engaged and know how to communicate to different people. This article portraits a story of two kindergarten classrooms, one in the United States and the other in Greece, both working with culturally diverse children and, in the case of the American classroom, English Language learners. The teachers shared philosophical foundations reflected in their practice and discourse in the classroom as they took a learning journey through Harvard Project Zero’s Out of Eden Learn project. Out of Eden Learn serves as a platform to engage children from both settings in exploring their own neighborhoods, investigating contemporary global issues, and reflecting on how they as individuals fit into a broader geographical and historical context. Through meaningful hands-on experiences, the children in these two classrooms gained deep understandings of themselves and their surroundings, made personal connections and developed empathy as they heard stories of children around the world. In their learning journey, the two teachers used thinking routines to help the children slow down and observe the world around them. The experience not only helped the teachers comply with curriculum standards, but also allowed them to keep alive the children’s capacity to be curious and promote parental involvement. The children developed a sense of self-understanding and self-identity as a point of reference to develop perspective and understanding of other cultures.


Global competencies Thinking routines Habits of mind Empathy and resilience Culture and language Slow looking 



We want to acknowledge Kindergarten B at Shelton Academy in Miami, Florida, and our walking partners from, Piraeus and Lagadas in Greece, New York, and Vancouver for letting us learn in our journey together in Out of Eden Learn.


  1. Boix-Mansilla, V., & Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for global competence: Preparing our youth to engage the world. New York: Asia Society-Partnership for Global Learning CCSSO Ed-Steps. Retrieved on January 5, 2017 from
  2. Boix-Mansilla, V. (2015). Finding our way into each other’s worlds: Musings on cultural perspective taking. Retrieved on March 16, 2017 from
  3. Boix Mansilla, V. (2016). How to be a global thinker. Educational Leadership, 74(4), 10–16.Google Scholar
  4. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of Child Development6, 187–249.Google Scholar
  6. Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.Google Scholar
  7. Dawes Duraisingh, L. (2016). Connected: A Learning journey around the world. Educational Leadership, 74(4), 70–72.Google Scholar
  8. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  9. Immordino-Yang, M. (2015). Emotions, learning and the brain: Exploring the educational implications of affective neuroscience. New York: W.W Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  10. Mindes, G. (2005). Social studies in today’s early childhood curricula. Beyond the journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2017 from
  11. National Council for Social Studies (NCSS). (2002). National standards for social studies teachers. Retrieved on April 14, 2017 from
  12. Out of Eden Learn. (2016). Retrieved on December 12, 2016 from
  13. Perkins, D. (2014). Future wise: Educating our children for a changing world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Project Zero. (2016). Out of Eden Learn. December 12, 2016
  15. Rinaldi, C. (2001). Documentation and assessment: What is the relationship? In C. Giudici, C. Rinaldi, & M. Krechevsky (Eds.), Making learning visible: Children as individual and group learners (pp. 78–89). Cambridge, MA: Project Zero and Reggio Emilia.Google Scholar
  16. Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making thinking visible: How to promote engagement, understanding, and independence for all learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Ritchhart, R. (2015). Creating cultures of thinking: The 8 forces we must master to truly transform our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  18. Salmon, A., & Lucas, T. (2011). Exploring young children’s conceptions about thinking. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25(4), 364–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Salmon, A. & Pane, D. (2013). Shifting teachers’ discourse in the classroom: Implications of cultivating habits of mind, visible thinking, and teaching for understanding in a graduate childhood curriculum course. In E. Dottin, G. O’Brien, & L. Miller (Eds.), Structuring learning environments in teacher education to elicit democratic habits of mind: Strategies and approaches used and lessons learned (pp. 97–105). Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.Google Scholar
  20. Salmon, A. K. (2016). Learning by thinking during play: The power of reflection to aid performance. Early Child Development and Care, 186(3), 480–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tishman, S. (2008). The object of their attention. Educational Leadership, 65(5), 44–46.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela K. Salmon
    • 1
  • Maria Victoria Gangotena
    • 2
  • Kiriaki Melliou
    • 3
  1. 1.School of EducationFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day SchoolWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.University of Western MacedoniaKozaniGreece

Personalised recommendations