Adequate Standard of living - Session 5

Roots: Parents, communities and governments that work for and support human rights for children recognize that every child needs adult and societal support to survive and to achieve an adequate standard of living, including adequate food and housing, access to health and medical services and health awareness and education (CRC Articles 6, 24, 27).

Rights: Children have the right to:

  • life;
  • an adequate standard of living;
  • adequate nutrition;
  • education about their health, and to health care.

Responsibilities: Children are responsible for

taking care of the home, their clothing, and themselves.

Session Outcomes


  • learn about a variety of types of housing and foods;
  • increase their understanding of how they can help ensure they have an adequate standard of living through eating healthy food and caring for themselves.


  • recognize the right of every child to a sustainable standard of living;
  • recognize the right of all children to access health and medical services;
  • increase knowledge about the deplorable conditions some children live in;
  • increase thinking about how parents can provide for the basic needs of their own family.

Materials needed:

Interactive Activities

  • 1/2 pint whipping cream; a plastic jar with screw on lid, crackers or bread;
  • One large marble;
  • Sugar cubes, small pieces of cardboard, and frosting;
  • Brown paper bags, water paints with water and brushes, chopsticks, string;
  • Straw and raffia or heavy twine, or collect twigs;
  • Large wooden blocks, parachute, climbing equipment, and other large muscle equipment;
  • Refrigerator box, cutting tools, crayons, paints, or markers;
  • Water and sea animal toys.

Parent Education

  • Parent Education Handout PE #5;
  • Chalkboard and chalk or easel with paper and pens;
  • 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


Represents adequate nutrition.

  • Put whipping cream into empty plastic jar. Add the marble. Close lid of jar tightly. Pass the jar around and have everyone shake it.
  • Notice the changes as the cream gets thick, begins to slosh and becomes butter. Spread on crackers or bread.



Different kinds of homes represent the different life-styles and standards of living people live.

For sugar cube Igloo: provide frosting for the glue and cubes for blocks. Adults and children place cubes into a circle on a piece of cardboard or a paper plate to imitate an igloo.

For Teepee: use pieces of brown paper bags. Wet the pieces and crinkle to make it look more like animal hide. Use water paint to paint Native American designs. When paint is dry, fold paper bag into a cone shape to imitate Teepee. Chopsticks make good teepee poles.

For Straw Hut: take small handfuls of straw and tie them with the raffia. Place the tied bundles in a circle to build the hut shape. You can also weave raffia in and out between the bundles to hold them together. Lay loose straw on the top of the ring of bundles to form a roof.

For wooden block house: gather as many large blocks and other large muscle equipment as possible. Then build houses of different sizes and shapes.

Refrigerator box house: get a large refrigerator box. Help children cut openings for doors and windows. Use paint, crayons or markers to decorate the house.


Water is home to many of Earth's creatures. This activity provides an opportunity to appreciate that people share the earth with animals and plants.

  • Provide plastic sea creatures and plants. Parents and children play feel, look at, and play with them at the water table.

  • Peter's Old House, by Elsa Beskow
  • A House is A House for Me, by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • This is My House, by Arthur Dorros
  • Pelle's New Suit, by Elsa Beskow
  • And So They Build, by Bert Kitchen
  • Bread, Bread, Bread, by Ann Morris

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 and The Name Chant. Today, our theme is an adequate standard of living. That means we need to have enough shelter, warmth, food, and clothing to survive. Shelter is what we get from our houses. Who made a house today? Do you think it's that easy to build a real house for a whole family? No! And it costs more money, too, so some people can't build a real house for their family and some children don't have a place to live. What do you think about that?. . . When people don't have a safe and dry shelter, or home, to live in, they don't have an adequate standard of living.
  • 3. Let's sing a song now that helps us remember we all need shelter. Sing: Little Cabin in the Woods, and One Little House.
  • 4. Did every one get a chance to make and taste butter? The butter-making activity symbolizes our need for food. Some people don't have enough food either. Then they don't have an adequate standard of living either. Sing some food songs like: Apples and Bananas, I Eat My Peas With Honey, Peanut, Peanut Butter.
  • 5. Every one needs a home, even our animal friends. Here's a song about our animal friends. Sing Baby Beluga, Houses, or I Have a Little Turtle.
  • 6. Sing your regular closing song and This Little Light of Mine.

Separate learning time

Children's Learning Circle Session 5

  • 1. Invite children to the circle with a gathering song. Sing: The Name Chant or Everybody Stand up Tall.
  • 2. What did you eat for breakfast? . . . For lunch? . . . Good food is your parents' way of helping you get what you need to grow heathy and strong. What do you think you need to do to help your parents? Let's sing those eating songs again. Sing: I Eat My Peas With Honey, Peanut, Peanut Butter, Apples and Bananas.
  • 3. Read Everybody Cooks Rice.
  • 4. Remember building houses in class today? What kind of home do you live in? An apartment, a duplex, a mobile home, a single dwelling home, a condominium or townhouse? Who knows

  • what kind of home you live in? Your parents, or the adults who care for you, provide houses and homes so you get what you need to grow healthy and strong.
  • 5. What do you think you could do to help make sure you grow up healthy and strong? What can you do to help your parents with your home?
  • 6. Let's sing about our homes: Houses, Little Cabin In The Woods, I Have a Little Turtle.
  • 7. Read And So They Build or A House Is A House For Me.
  • 8. Close the circle with: The More We Get Together.

Parent Education Session 5

Preparation: Using The State of America's Children, published by the United Nations on an annual basis, and available in most libraries, and using the United Nations' web site, choose statistics that demonstrate how children are currently suffering from inadequate standards of living with regard to their nutrition, housing, and medical care. Write ten (or so) statistics on different pieces of chart paper and post around the room. Also write the topic title Adequate Standard of Living on chart paper.

  • 1. Greeting: Welcome participants as they are coming in and invite them to move around the room, reading statistics for about five minutes. Call participants to gather.
  • 2. Action steps and journaling report: Before we discuss the statistics on the wall, let's get a lift by hearing someone share something they learned about rights and responsibilities from discussion with their child. . . . Or, who has anything they would like to share about action steps? (If the group is not forthcoming, offer some comments yourself about an action step you recently took or a child you learned from.)

  • 3. Start-up activity: Invite parents to share their thoughts about the statistics on the wall. Ask these questions:
  • * What are your reactions to these statistics?
  • * What is needed to create a change?
  • These statistics help us look at our topic today: 'Life Survival, Healthy Development and Adequate Standard of Living.'
  • 4. Discussion: Separate participants into small groups. Make sure they have copies of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Give each group a discussion topic A, B, or C (below). Ask them to spend five minutes in discussion and examination of these articles, then work on answering the questions.
  • A. Right to adequate housing (CRC Articles 4, 6, 27)

1. How might we as individuals and as a nation increase the quality of housing and improve the standards of existing housing for all people?

2. How might cities and suburban areas become partners in strategizing ways to provide adequate housing for all people?

  • 3. Do you believe adequate housing is a human right?

  • B. Right to adequate nutrition (CRC Articles 4, 6, 27)

1. How do our choices at the grocery store make a difference within each of our families for attaining adequate nutrition?

2. Define adequate nutrition.

3. How does meeting the right to adequate nutrition promote the medical services part of this right? For instance, if children are adequately fed, do they get sick as often as those who don't get their nutritional needs met?

  • 4. How would a strategy look that addresses adequate nutrition for children living in poverty?
  • 5. Do you believe adequate nutrition is a human right?
  • C. Right to medical services (CRC Articles 4, 24, 26)

1. What can be done within our society to ensure that services provided are used properly and that these rights are not abused?

2. In order to make sure our child is getting the best medical care, what could be done to prepare for a visit to a clinic or hospital?

3. How does immunization protect our children, and ensure their right to medical services?

  • 4. Is medical care a human right?
  • 5. Reports to large group: Small groups now have an opportunity to state their questions; report their thoughts and further discuss their questions. Plan to spend ten to fifteen minutes per small group.
  • 6. Journaling Assignment: Distribute Quotations About Children (Handout PE #5). Ask parents to spend a few moments reading and reflecting on these quotations. Next, provide time for writing in journals on the following:

* Sylvia Hewlett says, Children are increasingly relegated to the margins of life. How do I do that with my children? What am I willing to change?

* How do I demonstrate my concern for the next seven generations? (see American Indian wisdom). Is there more that I can do to demonstrate this? Do I want to choose giving up something in my material world to preserve the Earth for others?

* What is my responsibility to all children? (see Carl Sandberg's quote).

  • 7. Closing: Today your children talked about ways they can work together with you to ensure that they have an adequate standard of living. The next time they refuse to take care of themselves or eat healthy foods and so on, remind them that there are children in the world who don't have an adequate standard of living, and you have made a commitment to help them have one. Ask for their help in meeting your commitments. Your Human Rights Action Steps Journal will give you ideas of ways to help children find opportunities to demonstrate their empathy through helping other people and animals to achieve an adequate standard of living. Keep working on your actions steps, and we'll continue to hear about your actions.


copyright information