We recognized to achieve an impactful engagement witha cause, students and teachers need to go through multiple immersive experiences to go beyond just an intellectual understanding.

Watch Kiran share the incident which sparked the design of the Citizen process.


Try the empathy lens:

Get one of your teachers to conduct a ‘demo class’ in any grade of KeyStage 2. Before s(he) walks in, ask the students to blindfold themselves. Now challenge the teacher to teach the class where her/his students are presented as visually impaired children.

Invite the teacher to think through:

  • What strategies will s(he) now useto run her/his lesson with children who are unable to participate as s(he) had originally planned!
  • Map her/his feelings through the lesson (is s(he) frustrated, challenged, scared, motivated…) and what might be the reason for the same.
  • What is the shift in understanding her/his role as a teacher – if at all!

Through this experience, ask the teacher and students to reflect and share how it has helped them to build empathy for the visually impaired.


  • Whilst intellectually we were getting students to be aware of ‘Disparity as a Reality’, we found that they struggled to understand the issues/causes at a deeper personal level.

  • When our students had an opportunity to engage in a designed ‘child rights experience’ we saw the impact this immersive experience had in changing their mindset from ‘I am aware’ to ‘Now I care’.

  • Children felt deeply grateful for their privileges and had a sense of urgency and agency to address the disparities experienced by them. They knew that they need not wait until they are 18 to ‘Be the Change’!

  • Once we recognized the power of ‘experiences’ as a way to move from intellectual to enduring understanding, we chose to make it the default pedagogy to get children to understand Citizenship and their role in this program.



all children understand that they are not mere observers of change but the overseers, participants and initiators of change! Today!


Over the 5 years of Key Stage 2, we designed the Citizenship program to introduce children to a series of realities through a variety of deeply immersive awareness building exercises.

  • In Citizenship, every year children engaged with a different cause that gave them more awareness of different realities of life (hunger, climate change, the differently abled, environment…)

  • The choice of the cause was chosen by what deeply stirred the home room teacher and s(he) led the program with her/his passion, commitment and energy ensuring that the voice of his/her students was equally respected.

  • The cause was linked to an SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) to understand that they are addressing a global goal and making a positive impact.

  • Each of these timetabled weekly awareness building exercises was built on experiences – be it the hunger experience, the open defecation experience or becoming buddies with special needs children.

  • Reflection was a key piece at the end of each weekly immersion to ensure that children moved from intellectual to enduring understanding. These timetabled sessions were also used to design action plans for further impact.

The fallout of this program was that it helped children to become more empathetic and expand their circle of influence by adding value beyond the borders of the school.



This process video helps make visible the design and implementation of the ‘Citizenship’ program .


In the above video you will get a glimpse of how the homeroom teachers conduct the ‘Citizenship’ program for building awareness of the disparities around us and also how they co-create the Citizenship immersions with students to action the desired change.


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 6:39

    FAQ Video

    Watch Prerna share some insights on how to implement the ‘Citizenship’ program to design appropriate immersive experiences for students that inspire them to act and become agents of change.

  • 7:31

    Impact Video

    Watch Prerna share the relevance of Citizenship, key insights, and impact of the process on her as a teacher!




  • Once you have identified with the teachers what moves them or bothers them, help them in identifying suitable organizations to partner with for the year-long engagement.

  • Make sure that you go with your children to each of the identified organizations at least once in the year and also conduct a post visit circle of reflection.

  • Be a bridge for parents and help them to understand how blessed they are with their children and therefore why more is expected of them. Once in a way, invite parents to be a part of these immersions for building more perspective and conviction.

  • When you experience a disconnect or pushback from children or parents, don’t hesitate to invite an expert to conduct a masterclass for creating context and diving deeper into the chosen area of engagement.