Expression and Association - Session 11

Roots: Parents, communities, and governments that support human rights for children provide an environment which includes freedom of opinions, thoughts, expressions, conscience, religion, and association. (CRC Articles 12-16.)

Rights: Children have the right to

  • an opinion;
  • have their opinion taken into account in matters affecting them;
  • freedom of expression;
  • freedom of association;
  • protection of privacy.

Responsibilities: Children are responsible for

  • accepting and supporting others' freedoms;
  • using their freedoms in such a way as to not infringe on the freedoms or well-being of others.
  • Session Outcomes


    • learn about their rights and gain skills in respecting the rights of others.
  • Parents

    • help parents understand what the Children's Convention states regarding children's freedom of expression and association;
    • help parents understand ways to provide guidance and direction to children in the exercise of their freedom of thought, conscience, and religion;
    • promote family empowerment by helping families learn peaceful ways to solve problems;
    • gain a deeper understanding of what it means for children to have the right to freedom of opinion, expression, and association.

    Materials needed:

    Interactive Activities
    * Green paint, easel paper, paint brush, and easel;
    * Sensory table, water, plastic, or rubber fish and other sea creatures, fish nets;
    * Building blocks that connect with play figures;
    * Colored construction paper or newsprint and scissors for paper chains, or colored tissue paper cut into squares;

    * white paper cut in dove shapes, paint brushes, liquid starch.


    Parent Education
    * Parent Education Handout PE #11;
    * Large chart paper and pens or markers;
    * Paper, pens, scissors, string, and tape for the kite activity;

    * Extra copies of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.



    Greet as usual. Make sure everyone gets a name tag.

    Parent/Child Interactive Activities

    and paper at easel. Allow for free expression with the paint.

    Water play is very soothing and enjoyable to children and adults. It represents comfort, calmness, and returning to the waters that gave us birth.

    Assortment of plastic fish and other water animals and small fish nets in water at sensory table. (Fish nets can be obtained at most pet stores.)

    A paper chain of people symbolizes our connectedness to each other and unity among peoples of the earth.

    Paper suitable for cutting several thicknesses, scissors, and an example pattern. Cue card explains instructions for parents to follow.

    The dove is a symbol of peace through out the world.

    Paper cut in the shape of doves, assortment of colored tissue paper, cut into small squares, and liquid starch. Parents and children dip tissue paper into liquid starch and stick to paper doves. Parents and child work together to brush the dove with liquid starch, crumple the tissue paper squares, and glue them onto the dove shape.


      • Nobiah's Well, by Donna W. Gutherie
      • Blue Berries for Sal, by Robert McClosky
      • Brother Eagle, Sister Sky, by Chief Seattle
      • The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper
      • Sauce Pan Game, by Jan Omerod
      • Tickle, Tickle, by Helen Oxenbury
      • Follow the Drinking Gourd, by Jeanette Winter


    Community Circle

    • 1. Transition: Early childhood teacher speaks to each child, and/or touches them on the shoulder and reminds them that circle time will begin soon. After connecting with each child, the teacher begins a gathering song.
    • 2. "I'm happy to see all of you!" Sing "Shake Hands With Friends and Say Hello."
    3. "Today you had the freedom to choose which activity to do and how long you wanted to be there. Each week you have the freedom to choose the activities you want to do. You can dwell in one area as long as you want to. Sometimes, however, there are limits to your freedoms. Who can name something that has limited you? (Take some comments.) Yes, our time, our ability, and our materials can limit us. Another limit we always need to be aware of is our responsibility to respect others and our space, or our environment. Did some of you experience a limitation of respecting others?
    • 4. "When we limit ourselves without waiting to be told by someone else, it is called taking responsibility. We have been learning about responsibility throughout these weeks together. You've all learned that with rights come responsibilities. You've gained more knowledge and practice with being responsible as you have learned to limit yourselves in order to respect others' rights.
    • 5. "In today's circle you will be free to express your choice of song or activity. What would you like to sing, or what game would you like to play?" Wait for someone to say their favorite, or go around the circle and let each person state their choice. Then continue:
    • 6. "We are limited by time, so we may not be able to sing all your favorites, or play all your favorite games. How about if we try to agree on one to start with? How many would like to sing ______ (name the song the most people mentioned). Is there anyone who doesn't want to sing that? (If so, let that person pick a song too. Then sing the songs they chose.) There, today, we had free choice in our singing!
    • 7. "We have many freedoms in this country. But it wasn't always free for everyone. A while ago there were people who had slaves and the slaves weren't free. They couldn't say what they wanted or do what they wanted. We don't ever want anyone to be a slave in this country or in any other. We can speak out for freedom for all people.
    • 8. "Let's sing a song about freedom." Songs: "Follow the Drinking Gourd," "All for Freedom," "This Land is Your Land," "What A Wonderful World."

    Separate Learning Time

    Children's Learning Circle Session 11
    • 1. Invite the children to come to the circle with the gathering song.
    • 2. Discussion: .
  • What do you think it means when we say we have freedom?
  • What does taking the responsibility to accept and support freedoms of others mean? .
  • Who has seen any children accepting this responsibility in class today? (Take responses from the children, then tell them what you've seen.)

    • 3. "Now let's sing a song about freedom." Sing "All for Freedom," by Sweet Honey in the Rock, on their All for Freedom cassette.
    • 4. Activity: Show two or three books from this week's selections, and tell the children they are free to choose the one they would like to read today. You might ask for a show of hands or take a vote so everyone gets to express his or her opinion. You might also wish to vote on the other songs you will sing. Or go around the circle and sing the ones each child chooses.
    • 5. Activity: Use the easel with 9 x 13 black construction paper on it. Cut out seven yellow star shapes. Trace the Big Dipper outline in pencil on the black paper. Ask seven children to place the stars in their spots on the Big Dipper. You could have smaller stars available so each child could place a star in the sky. Explain that when there were slaves in the south, the slaves would look to the North Star, in its position in the Big Dipper, as a guide northward and a symbol of freedom.

    Now, practice this refrain:

    When the sun comes back, and the first quail calls,
    Follow the drinking gourd.
    For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom
    If you follow the drinking gourd.

    • 6. Read Follow the Drinking Gourd. Ask the children to sing or chant the phrase each time it's used in the book.
    • 7. Close with additional songs of the children's choosing.
  • Parent Education Session 11

    Preparation: Write this topic title, "Freedom of Thought, Expression, and Association" on chart paper and underneath write: "You have five minutes to use as you choose. This time will demonstrate (briefly) the rights we will be talking about today."

    • 1. Discussion:
    • How much do you value those freedoms?
    • Do you think they are important for all people?
    • 2. Debate Activity: How much freedom should children have?
    • Hand out and read the articles for today's discussion, from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC Articles 12 to 16).
  • Separate participants into two groups. Designate each group as either a "pro" or "con" group for the following debate. By assigning people in a random fashion to one group, the debate will be less polarized since many people will be debating on the side they do not support. Ask each group to spend some time preparing their side of the argument regarding freedoms for children.

    Debate Topic: Many adults feel that children are not mature enough to be able to choose with whom they will associate, and that this right will usurp parental rights to protect their child. Other people feel that young persons deserve to choose their associates and express their own opinions. This debate often centers around the age that children will be given these rights, rather than whether or not children should have these rights at all.

  • Give each group chart paper, pens, and about ten minutes to write their main reasons why these articles are good for children and parents or why these are a problem for children and parents. Ask each group to choose a recorder and a reporter.

  • Call the groups back and have them tape up their chart paper and begin the discussion with one person from the pro group making a point and one person from the con group making a counter point. Continue until all participants have had their opinion expressed and the issue has been thoroughly debated.
    • 3. Activity: Why Children are Like Kites

    1. Hand out the essay: Why Children Are Like Kites (Handout PE #11 ). Read it out loud. Ask participants if they can draw parallels between what this essay says and what they have discussed in the articles.

    2. Provide materials to make a paper kite and invite participants to create one. It can be as simple or elaborate as participants wish.

    3. Attach the essay to the kite using glue or tape.

    • 4. Journal Assignment:

  • Read aloud these first few lines from Kahlil Gibran's poem titled "Children."
    • "Your children are not your children.
    • They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    • They come through you but not from you,
    • And though they are with you, they belong not to you."
    • Journal about a discovery or re-discovery about yourself or your child that is prompted by this poem.

  • copyright information