Wangari Maathai as a significant individual

Primary History article

By Ailsa Fidler, published 22nd June 2022

Positive representation within a broad and balanced curriculum

"Instead of a curriculum where race, gender and disability are mainly rooted in victim narratives, include positive representation. Go beyond teaching slavery and the Holocaust or gender narratives of victimhood…Actively use examples and narratives countering this dominance." Bennie Kara, (2021, p.59)

The 2014 National Curriculum for history sets out that children should study significant individuals from their locality as well as those who have contributed to national and international achievements. To compare aspects of life in the past, the individuals can be looked at together or in isolation.

In 2017, I saw a clip showing Wangari telling the story of the hummingbird and saw the opportunity for some work in both English and PSHE. The more I found out about Wangari’s life, the more I felt that she would be an excellent role model to have as a significant individual study in Key Stage 1. In her, I saw the opportunity not just to ‘do’ a significant individual study but also to link children’s learning across the curriculum and importantly, develop an understanding about current environmental issues and climate change...

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