Communicating with children

Guideline 3C

Include children as active citizens who model social justice and mobilization

Rationale:

Child participation is not only a right but also an incredible opportunity for children to show their strengths and the contributions they make to family, peers, community and the world. But how we guide and nurture children to participate in programmes and to produce communication will make a difference in the success of that communication. Children should be guided to share their strengths and their solutions, not only their problems.

They should also be encouraged to think and act both locally and globally. While teaching them to develop their own communication, they can be nurtured to develop values, morals and principles of equality, fairness and respect for others. Children can be models and ambassadors to their younger peers when they are encouraged to think and act “outside the box” in non-stereotypical, creative ways.

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Positive Example: Including children as active citizens learning about and modelling social justice and mobilisation

No Fair to Tigers/No Es Justo Para los Tigres (Eric Hoffman, Redleaf Press, USA) is part of a collection of "Anti-bias Books for Kids" for preschool and primary grades and are available in Spanish and English.

It features a girl named Mandy, who uses a wheelchair, and her stuffed tiger that is dirty and messy because of his “adventures with wild animals”. When Mandy goes to get “food” for her tiger, she finds three big stairs to the shop and wonders how she will get inside with her wheelchair. Mandy (and her tiger) agree that this is “no fair/no es justo”. She tells the storekeeper that she would like to come inside and can only do this if there is a ramp for her.

Children learn about fairness, standing up for themselves and problem-solving, and that they can make a difference, even at a young age. Mandy is a positive, strong character helping children learn a lesson about her specific difficulty but also general principles of discrimination. The book is a model for introducing social justice issues and for encouraging self-confidence in speaking up when an injustice occurs. It is also a good example of how a bilingual book can be used to promote second and indigenous languages. Download book

 Turning Theory into Practice

This guideline can be translated into communication in many ways, for example:

  • Challenging and training young adolescents to report through various media about peers in their community who “stand up” for others (e.g., they defend girls who are mocked because they play with trucks, or boys who are bullied because they play with dolls)
  • Showing adolescents learning about discrimination and social justice from strong resilient adults who were previously marginalized (people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of abuse, etc.)
  • Supporting children to produce stories about kids who have been in difficult situations (diagnosed with cancer or HIV, have a disability, been through a disaster, lost a loved one) but have survived and are thriving
  • Modelling groups of children who make the “right” decisions (e.g., make lists of peers who do not bully, invite a new girl to join in a game, ask a shy but talented classmate to lead their after-school band)

 

 Guideline 3A  Guideline 3B Guideline 3C   Guideline 3D


 

 

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