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The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Jennifer McGuire, Freehold Township High School

CORE QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
  2. How are human rights for children defined under the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
  3. What rights are provided for children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
OVERVIEW: Human rights are universal and they are not simply reserved for adults. The lesson is designed to introduce students to the need for specific rights for children. Answering the question of what defines human rights for children will enable students to form an understanding of the inequities endured by children on a national and international level. An examination of the articles of The Convention on the Rights of the Child and global child suffering will reveal the need for universal and special rights for children. In addition, students will see how they have a universal connection with their global peers.

TIME: Approximately 90 minutes.
GRADE LEVEL: Grades 7-12.
INTERDISCIPLINARY: Language Arts--essay composition.

NEW JERSEY CORE CURRICULUM STANDARDS:
6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8

OBJECTIVES: At the conclusion of this lesson students will be able to:

  1. Chronicle the development of human rights for children up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  2. Define human rights for children according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  3. Identify & discuss the three components of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: provision, protection, & participation.
  4. Analyze the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  5. Organize articles of Convention on the Rights of the Child according to the three main provisions.
  6. Form opinions on the issue of children’s rights on a national & international level.
STRATEGIES: Session 1

Kick-Off Questions – What are human rights?--Discuss responses. Are human rights the same for adults and children?--Discuss responses Explain how the Convention on the Rights of the Child finds the two to be indistinguishable. Do children need special rights due to their minority status?

Mini Lecture on Foundation & Tenants of Convention on the Rights of the Child

--TEACHER'S NOTES: 1923 - Save the Children Gives birth to idea that children deserve special rights Declaration on the Rights of the Child.
1948 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights established global standards for human rights UN defines human rights as ..."rights we are all born with" Children still require special recognition.
1989 - Convention on the Rights of the Child Most widely ratified treaty Only USA & Somalia have not signed-USA claims it will sign Children enjoy human rights & special rights.

Read Preamble of Convention on the Rights of the Child: Ask children to read the preamble to Convention on the Rights of the Child Summarize the preamble in notebook / or as a class.

Classroom Discussion: Establish how an international interpretation for articles forms the basis of understanding for the importance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child As a class, read through Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 41. Read each article and define and discuss importance of each article: Article #1 – defines children as those under the age of 18, Article #2 – nondiscrimination, Article #3 – in the “child’s best interest”, Article #4 – nations to recognize and implement the rights in Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article #5 – “evolving capacities”, Article #41 – Children are guaranteed to enjoy the highest level of rights, even if state & international rights have higher standards than Convention on the Rights of the Child Discussion: Close the lesson by discussing the student’s impressions and feelings on the issue of children’s human rights. Why are articles necessary for the world we live in?

Session 2

Kick-Off Question: What types of rights do children need?—Discuss responses Are there any special rights that children do not have now, but should have?--Discuss responses

--TEACHER NOTES: 3 Components of Convention on the Rights of the Child:

Provision: Rights that are to be provided for all children of the world.

Protection: Protections that are to be made available for all children of the world.

Participation: Children have a right to participate in the decisions regarding their lives and rights.

Have students volunteer what kinds of rights or activities would fall under each of the three components.

Group Activity: Print up the article summary on Convention of Rights of Child from the Internet. Cut and paste individual articles onto large index cards (Articles 1-40) Option: May use colored index cards three colors – one for each type of right Divide class into six groups composed of 4 to 5 students. Instruct students that they will be looking at the individual rights to decide if they satisfy provision, protection, or participation. Give each group 4 to five cards. Make sure each set includes articles from each of the three components. On a separate piece of paper, make three columns: Provision, Participation, & Protection. Students are to work as a group, but are required to make individual lists. Option #1: You can have all groups examine all of the articles-8 cards to each group. Read through articles and make a list of what type of right is guaranteed and record responses. Switch cards with other groups after a few minutes and discuss and compare findings as a class. Repeat list on the board Option #2: Have the groups examine one set of cards, taking the articles numerically. Discuss which of the three components they encompass. Each group will report back to class and explain selections. Teacher will make a list on the board, then discuss it as a class. Close the lesson by discussing the student’s impressions and feelings on the issue of children’s human rights. Were the articles written with the USA in mind?

MATERIALS: Index cards, outline notes, notebooks, printouts from the Internet

RESOUCES:
Websites:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
United Nations
Unicef
Human Rights Watch

Print:
Balton, David A., Human Rights in the Classroom: Teaching The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Social Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, 1992, Volume 56(4), pp. 210-212.

Cantwell, Nigel, Conventionally Theirs: An Overview of the Origins, Content, and Significance of the Convention on he Rights of the Child, Social Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, 1992, Volume 56(4), pp. 207-210.

Edmonds, Beverly C., The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Point of Departure, Social Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, 1992, Volume 56(4),pp. 205-207.

Miljeteig-Olsen, Per, Children’s Participation: Giving Children the Opportunity to Develop into Active and Responsible Members of Society, Social Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, 1992, Volume 56(4), pp. 216.

ASSESSMENT:
The student's understanding of the lesson will be assessed through a personal essay. Each student will write an essay explaining what provisional, participative, and protective rights are and how he or she currently enjoys each category of rights. The students will also be instructed to include in their essays what rights they wish they were able to enjoy, or enjoy more fully. A suggested rubric for grading is as follows: 10 points - Introductory paragraph 20 points - Provisional Rights 20 points - Protective Rights 20 points - Participative Rights 10 points - Conclusion paragraph 10 points - Mechanics 10 points - Logic.


To learn more about the influence of Children's Rights on our global society, click on the links below:
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