Exploring Children's Rights - when daily life has changed ...
20 April, 2020
Your school may have done quite a lot of work on Children’s Rights. Pupils may be aware on the UNCRC and be able to recall and explain why many rights are important to them. In general, most children in the UK are able to access most of their rights, and at times we take this for granted. It can be easier to understand concepts of rights when they are withdrawn or become limited. Because of COVID-19, children and young people's daily experiences have changed considerably.
Children and young people are not currently accessing all of their rights, or are certainly experiencing them in different ways, for example:
- The right to an education (UNCRC Article 20)
- The right to have rest, relax and play (UNCRC Article 31)
- The right to meet their friends and join groups (UNCRC Article 15)
In another sense, some of young people’s experiences due to COVID-19 are in place to protect their rights, for example:
- The right to be supported to develop and grow (UNCRC Article 6)
- The right to be with those who can are for them best (UNCRC Article 9)
Depending on the extent of pupils’ understanding and engagement with rights, it may be an opportune time to explore this further. Here are some ideas to use or adapt:
- Revisit a wants and needs activity. Ask pupils to sort, write statements about or contribute to how these may have changed. What do they miss the most? Are some things that we thought were needs actually just wants?
- Revisit a children’s rights activity. Can pupils identify rights that they are not accessing currently? Or that they are accessing in a different way? Can they identify a right that is particularly important at the moment?
- Draw pictures of the different ways (e.g. previously, and now) in which they are now accessing rights, e.g. education, relaxing, engaging with friends.
- Often young people are taught about rights along with responsibilities. Changes in daily experiences are also asking young people to be very responsible. Pupil could draw pictures of their special responsibilities to themselves and others at the current time.
- Choose one right and ask pupils to explore why this is important. They could draw the right, and put statements around the outside. They could write a paragraph or record a voice message about why this is important
- Set up an online poll or word cloud (e.g. Kahoot, Mentimeter) that students can contribute statements to in response to a question about a particular right. Save and share on whatever online system the school is using.
- Older pupils may be able to write a balanced argument exploring why the withdrawal of certain rights to children and young people is justified, they might want to argue some points as to important things we can learn from this experience.