The activities offered here come from Save the Children's book, Children Rights: A Teacher's Guide. Refer to the information below in order to get a PDF copy of the entire booklet.
Article 12: You have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously.
Speaking and listening: using group discussion, you can give children opportunities to share opinions and listen to the viewpoints of others.
Drama: with drama, you can encourage your pupils to convey story, themes, emotions and ideas through plays, while using dramatic techniques to explore characters and issues.
Reading: by selecting a range of texts (fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, etc) you can encourage pupils to broaden their perspectives and extend their thinking around the issue of rights, including personal experiences and accounts.
Writing: giving children creative writing exercises helps them to explore feelings and ideas and teaches them to write persuasively and argue a point of view.
Article 6: You have the right to life and development.
Article 27: You have the right to a good enough standard of living.
Geography provides a strong basis for pupils to explore the lives of children in other countries, including their access to basic rights such as food, water and shelter. You can investigate issues such as working conditions and the environment, as well as the idea of interdependence.
Music can give children the opportunity to explore songs that address the issue of rights. Activities can be created which support the children’s right to enjoy music through giving them opportunities to discuss, give opinions and make musical choices. You can also lead pupils through an exploration of the lives of musicians and composers to help them understand the influences behind their work.
Article 31: the right to play and relax by doing things like sports and music.
Through physical education lessons, the children can exercise their right to play and relax by being given opportunities to invent new games that are inclusive of all. You can also enable pupils to explore equality of opportunity in relation to the rights of women and those with disabilities in sport.
You can encourage pupils to create their own playtime activities and even enable them to be consulted about the design of their playground space.This will allow the children to feel greater ownership and responsibility for their environment.
Article 14: the right to think what you like and be whatever religion you want to be, with your parents’ guidance.
Article 2: the right to protection against discrimination.
Religious education enables pupils to explore the rights of various religious groups and the problems encountered in exercising those rights.
Rights and the UNCRC are also relevant to the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters framework. Download it at www.unicef.org.uk/tz/resources/resource_item.asp?id=60
Article 4: the right to have your rights made a reality by the government.
History enables children to explore the ways in which people have struggled to claim their own rights and defended the rights of others over the centuries.They can also investigate the development of the UNCRC and how Save the Children’s founder, Eglantyne Jebb, was involved in its conception.
Information and communication technology
Article 17: the right to collect information from all around the world. You should also be protected from information that could harm you.
In ICT, children can learn to source information about rights for work across the curriculum.They can become aware of the dangers associated with using the Internet in terms of their own protection and learn who the main organisations are that could help in these situations, eg, the NSPCC, Childline, etc.
Appropriate methodology is vital when teaching about rights and responsibilities.Your approach to the subject ought to respect the rights of children but also allow for them to understand how they can take responsibility themselves for ensuring that these rights are upheld.
Any activities you organize should promote active participation.This can be done by encouraging children to support issues they believe in and take action to rectify things they feel are wrong.
An activity idea could be children designing and conducting surveys/questionnaires to find out young people’s opinions on a chosen issue, such as the environment.The pupils could then use the findings to design an appropriate action, such as lobbying the government for change at local and national level.
A local perspective
Making sure rights are respected is mainly the responsibility of governments, but communities and individuals can also play their part to ensure this happens.This includes children, who benefit from learning to balance respect for the rights of others with taking responsibility for making sure their own rights are acknowledged.
In the classroom and school environment, pupils can take on the following responsibilities to ensure that all children’s rights are respected:
- supporting peers in their own class or in other classes and year groups
- looking after the school and local environment G learning to see the importance of their education and to take
- ownership of it
- creating school or class rules to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them as a member of the school or class community
- setting high standards of behaviour for themselves and others
- caring for their friends and school community.
School councils are a good way of involving young people in the running of the school and in decisions about how the school environment could be improved for everyone. School councils also introduce young people to important social and political principles around voting and representation.
Download the entire Children Rights: A Teacher's Guide at: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_5970.htm.