What can schools and teachers do to advance the principles set forth by the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
- Teach children about their rights. People who know their rights are better able to claim them. When you guide children toward understanding their rights, it's important that you help build and maintain respect for their parents.
- Provide a broad, relevant and inclusive curriculum. Promote a curriculum that aspires to equip children with numeracy and literacy, as well as knowledge in science, the humanities, sport and the arts. Provide opportunities for play consistent with the right to optimal development.
- Develop rights-based learning and assessment. Ensure that children’s right to express their views is granted and that their views are given due weight. Provide adequate teaching and learning materials.
- Ensure children’s participation. Establish and encourage student participation at all levels. Involve children in the development of relevant school policies.
- Protect integrity. Prohibit all forms of violence against children, including physical and humiliating punishment in school and at home. Encourage and train teachers to end physical punishment and introduce strategies for non-violent conflict resolution, and provide effective mechanisms for complaint by children.
- Introduce children’s rights and related issues into the academic course work. Train youth to teach younger children about child rights.
- Develop oral history projects. Have children interview their elders born before 1971 about their experience with child rights. (Anyone born from 1972 onward would have turned 18 after the adoption of the CRC.) These oral histories could be published, broadcast, or turned into dramatic presentations.
- Organize workshops, seminars, lectures, debates and symposia on child rights inside and outside your school.
- Host lectures, book and poetry readings, or film festivals to explore, celebrate and promote children’s rights. In or around November, display books, magazines and posters on child rights
- Produce street theatre, dance and other popular presentations relating to the Convention created and presented by youth for a variety of audiences. Encourage children to create songs relating to their rights that may be performed together with local celebrities.
- Ensure that all children in the community attend a child-friendly school full time and receive an education that is of good quality, equal for all children and free from violence. This can involve changing classroom management (traditionally based on fear, threats, humiliation and physical punishment) to a child-friendly approach that is non-discriminatory and supports cooperative learning.
- Establish safe complaint mechanisms for all forms of violence against children, including sexual violence and abuse, bullying and corporal punishment.
- Support the reintegration of children who have been victims of any form of violence, including support for psycho-social counselling from trained staff.
- Be a role model for respecting the dignity and integrity of children. Educators can engage parents, children and community members in promoting children’s rights by encouraging advocacy with local and national governments, initiating dialogue on children’s issues and creating a forum for children to express their views.
Visit these websites to learn more about what schools and teachers can do to advance the principles set forth by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (all links open in a new window).
THE CRC IN YOUR LANGUAGE
See the CRC in 58 languages including many child-friendly versions.
I HAVE A RIGHT TO
BBC World Service site outlining the rights of children and young people.
A network of young people that promotes the CRC.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
News, analysis and resources from human rights perspective.