Special Protections - Session 6

Roots: Parents, communities, and governments that work for and support human rights for children take special care to support and protect those children with special challenges, such as those with disabilities, psychological trauma, and/or refugee status, and also work to protect the best interests of adopted and foster children (CRC Articles 20-25, 39-40).

Rights: Children have the right to special care and protection when needed.

Responsibilities: Children are responsible for

  • helping to provide that special care and consideration for others who may need it;
  • helping to advocate for what individuals need to achieve self-reliance and a full and decent life in society.

Session Outcomes


  • increase their awareness of the challenges that individuals in special circumstances face (e.g., children who are adopted, those with disabilities, refugees, homeless children);
  • participate in nurturing activities that encourage caregiving of those with special needs.


  • increase their awareness of the challenges that individuals in special circumstances face (e.g., children who are adopted, those with disabilities, refugees, homeless children);
  • participate in nurturing activities that encourage caregiving of those with special needs; .
  • increase their skills for advocating for their children with special needs and for all those who need special care;
  • learn what the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child states in regard to children in special circumstances;
  • learn how to encourage children's citizenship skills and skills in social competence, resilience, and democratic living.

    Materials needed:

    • Interactive Activities
    • Paper in a variety of colors representing skin tones, scissors, and markers;
    • Feely bag set;
    • Smelling jars set;
    • Dramatic play area set up as a clinic with dolls, beds, hospital paraphernalia, doll crutches, wheelchair, and any other equipment you have;
    • Large muscle equipment for an obstacle course: climber, stairway, tunnel;
    • A variety of beans, scoops, spoons, small tongs, ice cube trays, blindfold.
    • Parent Education
    • Parent Education Handouts PE #6a and #6b;
    • Blindfolds, ear plugs, wheel chairs, crutches, or walkers, ties for binding arms or legs and so on;
    • Extra copies of The Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    • Place beans into the sensory table with scoops, small tongs, and tablespoons. Ask participants to use each utensil to pick up the beans. Suggest participants separate the beans by size and color. You can use egg cartons, muffin tins or ice cube holders for separated beans.
    • Have a blindfold ready for those who wish to separate the beans without using their eyes.

    Provides practice in roleplaying positions in the medical profession.

    • Set up dramatic play space with doctor kits, eye chart, bandaides, slings, stethoscopes, crutches, and wheel chairs.

    Provides a physical challenge in movement.

    • Set up the large muscle space so participants can walk, crawl, walk a narrow space (like a balance beam), jump from one space to the next, go up stairs and down, hop on one foot, walk backwards, or any other physical challenges you think of. Encourage participants to try this with crutches, blindfolded in a wheel chair, wearing earmuffs, and so on.

    Taking on the care of a doll helps children practice the responsibilities we have as parents.

    • Provide dolls and doll clothes.
    • NOTE: As several books are too mature for toddlers, the Early Childhood teacher may wish to paraphrase them during story time.
    • A Button In Her Ear, by Ada B. Litchfield
    • Arthur's Eyes, by Marc Brown
    • Glasses, Who Needs 'Em?, by Lane Smith
    • Here Are My Hands, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
    • Madeline's Rescue, by Ludwig Bebe Imans

    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. Discussion: Today, we are learning about caring for those with special needs. Who tried out the adaptive equipment, like the crutches, for example?. . . Sometimes we can go faster on crutches, but they may take special practice to work well for us, and they are very tiring because we aren't used to walking with weight on our arms!. . . Was it harder to figure out what things were and how to move when blindfolded? What about when wearing ear muffs? What did you learn about people who are blind or almost deaf or need crutches? . . Who do you know that needs special care? What can you do to help them?. . .
    • 3. Let's sing a song about glasses called 'Here Are Grandma's Glasses.' (Sing) Let's sing

    • the alphabet song, too. But today let's use American Sign Language to help us. Sing: Alphabet Song. (See the American Sign Language alphabet in Different and Alike by Nancy P. McConnell).
    • 4. Here is another song using American Sign Language. Sing Skin-a-ma-rink (or another song you know in ASL).
    • 5. Last week we sang, Little Cabin In The Woods to remind us that everyone needs shelter. It also is a good one to remind us to help someone in need. Let's sing it again.
    • 6. For closing, sing You Gotta Sing (When The Spirit Says Sing).

    Separate learning time

    Children's Learning Circle Session 6

    • 1. Invite children to the circle with a gathering song. Sing: The Name Chant or Vivala Company.
    • 2. Today we are learning about helping others, especially when they have a special need, like when they are sick or have to have crutches or are blind and so on. We all have a right to get help when we need it. Our responsibility is to help others when they need it. How could you help people who were wearing glasses? Let's sing 'Here Are Grandma's Glasses.'
    • 3. How could you help people who were deaf?. . . Let's sing the 'Alphabet Song' again using American Sign Language.
    • 4. Read Arthur's Eyes or Glasses, Who Needs 'Em?
    • 5. We are all different, and we are all alike. The important thing for us to remember is that we are all happier when we share and help each other. We are all capable of helping someone else. Think about what you could do for someone this week. (Pause for children to think.) Who wants to share what they will do for someone this week?
    • 6. Sing The Sharing Song and/or You Gotta Sing (When the Spirit Says Sing).
    • 7. Read: Different and Alike.
    • 8. Close the circle with: The More We Get Together.

    Parent Education Session 6

    Preparation: Write the topic title, Special Care When Needed, on chart paper or on chalkboard.

    • 1. Greeting and Introduction: Welcome participants and thank them for their enthusiastic participation with their children in the Interactive Activities.
    • 2. Surveys revisited: The first day of class we took a survey. Since this class is our sixth, and we are half-way through this curriculum, let's take another look at these surveys. Hand back the surveys. Invite participants to look at their own. Which questions would you answer differently today? Do you know more about human rights now than you did six weeks ago? Thanks for your feedback. Now we'll continue learning about today's topic.
    • 3. Discussion: Invite participants to share anything they experienced with these activities, or learned from watching their children. Invite them to share any personal experiences they have had with disabilities. Ask participants if they have ever been in a situation where they had difficulty going about their business.
    • 4. Explain: It takes creative problem solving for many situations in daily living. How much more problem solving do those with physical limitations have to do? Discuss the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and what disabled accessible means.
    • 5. Experiential Learning: Ask each participant to take on a physical limitation (have blindfolds, ear plugs, wheel chairs, crutches, ties for tying limbs together, etc.) Then, in pairs, explore your building to find out how accessible it is. Spend 15 minutes moving about the building. Be sure to use entrances, go up and down to different floors, and locate the restrooms. Reconvene, but keep your adopted limitation for this discussion:

    How did it feel to move about with your new perspective? How did you learn about the world around you? Were you more conscious of other senses?

    Was this building friendly or not friendly?

    What needs to be changed?

    What could have helped you?

    • 6. The Blind Meeting: Invite participants to return to their regular limitations. Hand out and take time to read silently or aloud the story The Blind Meeting (Handout PE #6a), by Connie Titone Feldman.
    • 7. Discussion:
    • Elicit participants' initial reactions, and discuss some of the following questions:

    What provoked the man with the cane to a greater understanding, compassion, and openness to the other?

    What cues do we use to determine whether another person is worthy of our understanding, compassion, or assistance?

    Do these articles of the Convention help us in some concrete way to provide acknowledgment of others' needs? Do they prompt us to commitment or action?

    • 8. Summary: Summarize the discussion and/or use the following summary information.
    • Children are provided different categories of rights by the Convention:

  • Survival rights, in which children are assured of adequate standard of living and access to medical services;

  • Development rights in which children are assured of education, access to information, play and leisure, cultural activities, and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion;

  • Participation rights such as having a voice in matters which affect their life, their right to an active role in society, and the freedom to express their opinion;

  • Protection rights which are the ones we explored today, and more that we didn't discuss. These include protection from all forms of exploitation, cruelty, separation from family, and abuse in the criminal justice system. The Convention also includes obligations to children in special circumstances: Article 20 (which covers children without families), Article 21 (children who are adopted), Article 22 (children who are refugees), Article 23 (children who are physically or mentally disabled), Article 39 ( children needing rehabilitative care), and Article 40 (children who are placed in care or detention).
    • 9. Journal Assignment: Choose one or more of the following questions to address.

  • How do you advocate for your child?

  • In what special circumstances might you need to advocate for yourself or your child? (e.g., medical needs, school needs, financial needs/assistance, giftedness, mental retardation, AD/HD, physical disabilities)
  • In what ways do I see myself or my community as blind to special circumstances?
  • What opportunities or experiences have I had that have given me greater insight into the needs of others?

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