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2017 Salzburg Global Seminar: The Child in the City

Katherine Boe, program manager at JUCCCE, was invited to participate in the 574th Salzburg Global Seminar last month. This prestigious organization calls for a new way of solving important issues on a global scale. It is dedicated to assisting our current and future leaders in making significant change.

Founded in 1947 by Clemens Heller, a Harvard graduate student, the organization originally focused on American studies during the post-world war era. It has now evolved into a global organization that focuses on a wide range of issues such as economics, education, culture or sustainability. This year, in 2017, the organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The seminar in which JUCCCE participated was centered around “The Child in the City”, an exploration on how to reorient the urban child’s development through nature, play, and health improvement. During the 4 day session, participants from public and private sector attended various conferences on the topic and also separated into different working groups in order to come up with strong recommendations and strategies for the future. JUCCCE contributed ideas to the talks about children's health, food education, design thinking and behavior change. The latter being particularly important since a key goal to affect measurable improvement is about establishing new positive habits for the young generations.

Playfulness in education and early child development has not been long-established in China. However, modern experts agree that children need to be outdoors, engaged in their environment and encouraged to play in order for them to reach their full potential and to be connected with nature. The Food Heroes program is entirely based on play and activities which is the ideal way to engage children in learning and to have them internalize the concepts. Food Heroes believes that presenting healthy eating through play encourages children long-term to make good food choices, good for them and good for the planet.

Reintroducing play and outdoor space for kids in cities can be another channel for Food Heroes to help kids to better learn to appreciate nature, the natural world, and its wellbeing. This is why JUCCCE is helping to rethink China’s early childhood education with a thorough curriculum in line with the 574th Salzburg Global Seminar’s goals.

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