3. RESPECT – How can I make a difference to my world?

Ground rules

Share Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: ‘You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously’ and remind the children of the ground rules:

  • We have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously.
  • Thumbs up if you want to speak.
  • One person talks at a time.
  • Everyone is valued.
  • Respect each other’s responses.

Getting set

Ask the children to sit in a circle and then to make a choice between sitting on a pile of rubbish or swimming in dirty water. Give them time to think about their choice as a reason will be required! Explain that there is no right or wrong answer but what is important is the reason for their choice.

In turn ask the children the question:

  • Would you rather sit on a pile of rubbish or swim in dirty water?

Children respond with such answers as, “I would rather sit on a pile of rubbish because I can’t swim.”


Explain to the children that today they are going to be exploring what it means to respect our world to ensure that it is a great place to live.


Share a photograph of a polar bear trapped on a small iceberg and/or a photograph of a rubbish pile.

Ask the children to think about what is happening in the pictures and why they think it is happening. Give the pupils time to share their ideas.

Ask for their responses to such questions as: How can we make a difference and not allow these things to happen?

Invite the children to raise questions about one of the photographs and compile a list of the questions. Invite them then to vote for a question that they think the class could discuss. [Encourage the children to close their eyes when voting so they are not influenced by their peers’ votes.]

Once a question has been voted for, invite the children to share some initial answers. Clarify the question where needed and help them to build their understanding – agreeing and disagreeing with the ideas they are airing. Encourage them to listen carefully to each other so that they can appreciate other points of view and learn more about what they need to know to answer the question. After everyone has had an opportunity to participate, thank the children for their contributions.


Share the story, ‘George Saves The World by Lunchtime’ by Jo Readman [Search YouTube for this story], and encourage the children to reflect on how George is making a difference to his world and whether this is something they could do too.

Tell the children about the 4Rs – RECYCLE, REUSE, REPAIR & REDUCE and ask them if they think it would be a good idea to add a 5th R – for RESPECT. What do they think the word ‘respect’ means?

Bring out the point that respect is about showing care for other people and the world. The opposite is ‘disrespect’ – where people do not look after or show any care for anything.


Offer some reflections on the session around the idea of the importance of respecting our world. Encourage the children to become detectives for the week ahead and look around their homes to think about how they can respect their world.

Ask them to investigate these questions:

  • What and when do you recycle?
  • Have you got anything you can reuse?
  • Could you repair something rather than throw it away?
  • Could you grow something instead of buying it from the supermarket? 

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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