Last Thursday and Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to St Bernadette’s RC Primary in Farnborough to meet all the lovely pupils in Years 4-6, to thank them for their support for CAFOD and talk to them about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as part of their global citizenship curriculum.
I started by asking the children what they thought everyone needed to have a good life. ‘Love and care’ ‘friends’ and ‘a safe home’ were some of the answers.
We then played a game whereby the pupils had to pretend that they were all world leaders who were at a special meeting to decide what all the children of the world should have as they grow up.
I gave each group some ideas on cards to think about which included ‘medical care’ ‘protection from discrimination’ as well as ‘money to spend’ and ‘fashionable clothes’. Each group had to decide on what they thought were ‘most important’ ‘important’ and ‘least important’ and the discussions began!
Some pupils also wrote down some things that they thought were really important that weren’t on the cards such as ‘a family’ ‘to live in happiness’ ‘an x box’ and ‘books about people and countries so when people go to different countries they’ll know about them’.
Pupils then had a short introduction to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and compared what they had thought was important to their actual ‘rights’. Many were surprised that all children have the right to a name, to play and that there was a right to have friends!
We then talked about the responsibilities that go hand in hand with each of these rights. For example, we discussed the fact that in order to allow everyone to have the right to express their opinion, we also had a responsibility to listen to each other. Furthermore if we have a right to an education, we have a responsibility to listen to our teachers and do our best to learn as much as we can!
I asked a couple of classes to think of some other examples of rights and responsibilities. Pupils came up with a whole host of ideas including: ‘We have the right to learning resources and the responsibility to treat the resources well and not break them’. One pupil (possibly with a younger baby sister or brother I suspect!) wrote ‘Everybody has the right to sleep and everyone has the responsibility to let them sleep!’
We then looked at a day in the life of a 10 year old boy in Cambodia, called Butterfly, and saw a number of similarities between his life and ours. We also discussed the fact that in Cambodia only 6 out of 10 children would be able to go to school, what rights that would affect and whether we thought it was fair that some children do not have access to the things they need to live a happy and healthy life.
A couple of classes on the Friday had a slightly longer session so I was also able to show them a fantastic set of photographs taken by children from Cambodia and found as many examples as we could which showed how they enjoyed some of these rights. We found a great deal of examples of play, meeting with friends, being looked after, education, being able to practise the religion of their choice…. etc These are all available on http://picturemyworld.cafod.org.uk/meet-the-photographers-cambodia/
At the end of every lesson, we then had a very quick game to see how many rights we remembered from the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child – and everyone had remembered a great deal!
We ended with a prayer, asking God to help us work together to look after our world, and share what we have so that everyone has what they need.
Our special thanks goes to Mrs Riglar and Mr Baldwin for organising the days so well, all the teachers and learning assistants for their kindness and all their help during the sessions. And of course our special thanks to all the pupils who were just brilliant!
For the powerpoints on Children’s Rights and Butterfly’s Story please go to: http://picturemyworld.cafod.org.uk/for-teachers/
Picture My World http://picturemyworld.cafod.org.uk/
For more information on the ‘Wants and Needs’ session, please go to ‘Every Child of God Matters Everywhere’ Activity 9 page 59 http://www.globaldimension.org.uk/resourcesearch/details.aspx?id=1629
Wants and Needs cards are produced by UNICEF and free to download http://www.unicef.org.uk/tz/resources/resource_item.asp?id=35