CosmoKidz is growing up: Here comes CosmoTeenz
It is now nearly 10 years since the idea of CosmoKidz started to materialize. Since then we have supported an unknown number of children and adults in working to better the way they relate with each other. Which also, as it turns out, helps the children perform better academically, as well as bringing their improved social and emotional skills home.
CosmoKidz grew into CosmoTweenz, addressing the challenging time of being in-between a child and a teen-ager, by offering activity card sets for use in classrooms based on issues and event s that the tweens themselves had identified as important to them. The first set—“three choices and then what happens”—invites kids to imagine three possible and productive options for a given scenario (offered by them) and to sense what will happen next if they choose each of the options. Then, through a process of interacting and deliberation in classrooms, together they decide which option to choose.
We also took the tweens’ concerns around the climate crisis seriously. Our CosmoTweenz Environmental Awareness scenarios are aimed at helping young people bridge their sense of awareness and perspective-taking from people to other living things. They are arranged in three categories: Noticing Your Surroundings, Making a Change at Home or at School, and Connecting to Others. We want to be honest in representing environmental issues as complex without inducing hopelessness. The scenarios aim to expand empathy and give young people opportunities to act in accordance with what they experience and learn.
Then we were asked “What about our teenagers?” People with many talents and real hearts for supporting teenage whole person development started offering their ideas and support. The CosmoTeenz working group was established one year ago, and has since had several additions of people from various back-grounds: from communication academics and practitioners to artists, to yoga instructors, to social workers, teachers and therapists of various kinds: all highly skilled in their line of work, all creative, innovative and with a sense of purpose. The co-creational process, again, started by going out and asking teens themselves: What are the challenges you face in your every-day life? What concerns you? What is important to you? We also did a second survey to learn about their joys; what gives you a sense of life and meaning?
Their replies were heart-breaking and heart-warming and everything in-between:
- A wish to be seen and heard
- To be taken seriously
- Have some good friends
- Do well in school/jobs/the world
- Worries about global issues like the pandemic and the climate crisis
- Core existence and survival
- Safe place to talk about mental health issues
- Wanting to make a difference in the world
The group is currently working on developing creative, relevant, fun and reflexive activities based on building awareness and capacity in relationships, and suited for various stages of being a teenager. We are even playing with the idea of teaching CMM concepts and tools to the older ones, and also how we can work to “equalize” the relationship between being young and being older. Wisdom, as we know, is not just available, nor present in adults. We have so much to learn from each other! We are so grateful to all of you, young and not so young, that are enthusiastic contributors to this process of co-creating the CosmoTeenz activities.