Sharing a Vision - Session 1


Parents, communities, and government that work for and support human rights for children provide "an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding" in the home. They help develop a safe community and nation, and an atmosphere that supports the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly a "spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity" (Preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Rights: Children have the right -

  • to be loved and protected and to be treated with care and respect;
  • to experience a sense of belonging and safety in their family, community, and nation;
  • to express their opinions and ideas.

Responsibilities: Children are responsible for -

  • treating others as they would like to be treated;
  • respecting others' opinions and ideas;
  • keeping agreements about rules.

Session Outcomes:

Children -

  • become familiar with the group and classroom routine;
  • experience cooperative activities and have fun;
  • gain an initial understanding that all peoples of the Earth are connected and we are all responsible for treating others with care and respect;
  • are introduced to the words "human right" and "responsibility."

Parents -

  • are introduced to the concept of human rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in a fun and captivating way;
  • think about their hopes and dreams for their children in the context of human rights;
  • gain an overview of the class and fill out the beginning survey.

Materials needed:

Interactive Activities

  • Primary colored construction paper strips (at least 1 foot long, by about 5 inches), magic markers, glitter, and other art supplies;
  • Coffee filters;
  • Food coloring in primary colors and baby food jars;
  • Eye droppers;
  • Fan for bubbles;
  • 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup cornstarch, freezer zipper bags, food colors.

Children's Learning Circle

  • Easel with paper and markers.

Parent Education

  • Parent Education Handouts PE #1a , #1b, #1c, #1d;
  • Copies of the Human Rights Action Step Journal for each parent/family and the teacher (from Appendix C, page 118);
  • Copies of the Summary of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child from Appendix A, page 100);
  • Audiotape player and music for "The Rainbow Connection";
  • Materials parents can use to decorate their Human Rights Action Step Journals;
  • Easel with paper and markers.



Greet each person as they come in. Make sure everyone gets a name tag. First names are fine.

Parent/Child Interactive Activities

For each interactive activity there is a parent information/activity cue card in Appendix B. Copy the cue cards for this session, then cut them apart. You may want to use an enlarging copier to make them easier for participants to read. Place each cue card in a visible area near the activity on the wall or make them into table tents.


People are all connected with each other - the chain is a symbol of the connections we have with each other, as individuals and as a family, with the world.

  • Each person decorates a strip of construction paper to represent him or herself. It becomes a link in the chain. If there are family members missing, encourage families to make a strip for each missing member, too. Strips are then stapled together to make a colorful chain representing each family.
  • Parents write affirmations on each strip for each child in the family. Parents also can write affirmations from children to others in the family.


We live in families and communities, and we mix and blend with other people all the time. When we mix with other people we can make something interesting and beautiful.

  • Place coffee filters, baby food jars with food coloring in them, and eye droppers on a water proof cloth or a tray.
  • Have participants use the eye droppers to drop different colors onto the coffee filters. They blend to create new colors.


Parents and children move a multi-colored gel solution around in a zippered bag to create new colors.

  • Rainbows are symbolic of people coming together, of hope, of promise, and of dreams coming true.

Rainbow Stew Recipe

Make this recipe ahead of time. Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups water
  • freezer zip lock bags
  • masking or duct tape

In a heavy saucepan cook sugar, cornstarch and water until it thickens to a mashed potato consistency. Divide into thirds and color each third a primary color with food coloring (red, yellow, blue). Either the teachers or the families themselves then put a spoonful of each color in a plastic zippered bag (so you have three colors in each bag) and remove as much air as possible. Zip shut and secure with tape. No refrigeration is necessary. Do not freeze.


Rainbows remind us of the mystery and wonder of the world around us. Each color comes from the same source, yet it is unique. Human beings are also unique in our appearance, skin color, thoughts, feelings, and ways of living, but there's room for all of us!

  • Use prisms by a window on a sunny day. Help children (and adults) notice the rainbows made by the sun flowing through the prisms.
  • Encourage them to discuss why this happens. Spin the prisms slowly to move their rainbows around the room. Help the children "chase" the rainbows and try to step on the rainbows that lie on the floor. When they step on a color, the color touches them. Then they can then see how the color of the light mixes with their own skin or clothing color to create something new and interesting.


This activity reminds us that sometimes it takes a lot of helping hands to make our dreams come true.

  • Trace a light outline of a rainbow in several sections on the large paper.
  • Ask people to paint their hands and make hand prints on the paper.
  • The finished product should look like a rainbow of hands.


Bubbles are symbols of fleeting moments of wonder in the world around us.

  • Families will blow bubbles and catch them in the air together. Can you find the rainbow in each bubble?


Reading together promotes reading readiness skills, learning to read, and enjoyment of books along with the concepts of beginning, middle, and end. When parents read to their children, both gain the power to learn more about themselves and the world.

  • Parents and children choose a book to read together.
    • It Takes a Village, by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
    • Dreamcatcher, by Audrey Osofsky
    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
    • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
    • I Love My Mommy Because. . . by Laurel Porter-Gaylord
    • Planting A Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert


Community Circle

Preparation: This Community Circle symbolizes meeting and connecting with the people around us. Families need their family rainbow chain. Ask them to place their chains behind their family on the circle.

1. Transition:
Help the children make the transition to the Community Circle by speaking to them, touching them on the shoulder and singing a gathering song. A good gathering song is: "The More We Get Together." (See Appendix E, page 129, for words to songs.)

2. Teacher says something like, "Welcome! I'm so happy to see each of you here! We're going to make this a caring and welcoming place where we respect each other. Are you ready to start? Great! Let's begin by getting to know each other! Please turn to your neighbor and introduce yourself. We introduce ourselves to show we care about people and want to respect them by using their names when we talk to them. Now turn and introduce yourselves to the family on the other side of you. Thank you."

3. You may want to sing a song about shaking hands or meeting people. One suggestion is "Shake Hands With Friends," by Ella Jenkins.

4. Family Rainbow Chain
"Let's pick up our own family rainbow chain that we made together today. Our family rainbow chain symbolizes how connected our family is to each of the people in the family, and how important each member of the family is. Each of us has the responsibility to take care of ourselves and our family and hold our family rainbow chain very carefully so each person, represented by each beautiful color, can make a contribution to the world. Holding it carefully, let's walk in a circle singing this song to the tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.'"

Special is Each One

Special is each one, every color too
Together we celebrate me and you,
Celebrate me and you.

5. "Now let's hold our family chains out in front of our family and put the ends together with the family next to us, so all the family chains are touching. Look! We are making one big circle! Look how some of the other families have some of the same colors in their rainbow as you have in yours! That's because there are lots of things that are the same in the world for each and every family. Every family needs to be safe. Everyone in the family needs love! In fact, every family has the right to have these things and the responsibility to help themselves and others have these things."

6. Circle for the Children
Children go inside the rainbow circle while adults make a circle for the children by holding the paper chains. Sing, "The More We Get Together" or another loving song while adults walk around the circle. Tell the parents and children "We are honoring your right to be loved by sending thoughts of love to each child."

7. "I really enjoy getting to know other people. Thank you for sharing today. Every time you come, we'll do activities and sing songs all together, like we just did. In a few minutes the adults will go together to a nearby room to do their work. The children will stay here and play and learn together." (If you wish, repeat one of the two songs as a closing and then transition to the next component.)

Additional songs

  • "The Rainbow Connection" with Kermit the Frog from the audiotape The Muppet Movie;
  • "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
  • "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
  • "I Think You're Wonderful."

Separate Learning Time

Children's Learning Circle - Session 1

1. Call children to the Learning Circle near the end of your time with them.

2. Sing one of the songs you did in the Community Circle with children and parents.

3. Ask children if they have heard of a "human right." Explain that a human right is something everybody should have. Write "Human Right" at the top of the easel paper.

4. Ask children if they have heard of a "responsibility." Explain that a responsibility is something that comes with a right. Write "Responsibility" half way down the paper.

5. Ask children: "What rights do we have? What responsibilities go with them?" Write their responses on the paper in the appropriate section.

Some rights children have are: the right to be loved and protected and the right to experience a sense of belonging and safety in their family. With those rights goes the responsibility to treat others as they would like to be treated. Children have the right to express their opinions and ideas. Children also are responsible for respecting others' opinions and ideas and keeping agreements about rules.

Suggested Additional Songs: "Love is Something if You Give it Away," a traditional folk song, "The Sharing Song," found in Raffi Singable Songbook.


Parent Education - Session 1

Preparation: Write "Sharing a Vision for Children," the topic title, on chart paper or chalkboard. Have the music to "The Rainbow Connection" playing while parents are coming in. Distribute The Rainbow Connection (Handout PE #1a).

1. Greeting and introductions: Welcome parents and ask parents to introduce themselves and their child. Briefly explain the components of the class and the time line.

2. Survey: Distribute Beginning Survey (Handout PE #1b) and pencils. Ask participants to quickly fill them out. Collect the surveys and save for Session #6.

3. Discussion:

  • What did you notice while listening to and reading the words of "The Rainbow Connection"? Focus on general feelings generated by the music: tone, rhythm, words, and so on. List responses on chart paper. Invite parents to take turns by going around the circle/table.
  • What specific messages or ideas are being put forth? What are your reactions? Parents interpret what the song writer was trying to convey and how they reacted to that message. List all responses on chart paper.
  • What consequences might this message lead to for you? For your child? Why? Parents think about potential consequences of following their dreams or encouraging their children to follow their dreams. Chart their responses.
  • Under what conditions might these consequences or actions be more or less likely to occur? Parents identify situations that provide a climate for children to follow their dreams.
  • Optimal conditions: Are there certain kinds of conditions in which children will more likely grow up to be the person they dream about being? What are those optimal condi tions?

4. Read/paraphrase the following:
"We are not the first group of parents or adults to consider what constitutes optimal living conditions for children. This parent/child (family) series of sessions is designed to help us learn more about realizing a vision for all children. Today and over the next 11 sessions we will look at a document that identifies basic conditions for positive growth toward personal fulfillment for all children. That document is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child." Distribute the Summary of the U.N. Convention On The Rights of the Child (Appendix A, page 100). Give participants a few minutes to skim it. Ask them to bring it with them each week.

5. Discussion:
a. Name some of the human rights for children (in the Convention) that we identified in our earlier discussion on optimal conditions. Did we miss many?
b. Are American children currently in possession of these rights?
c. What is the benefit or value of having this convention? For your child? For a parent? For a community? For our nation and others?
d. Describe a difficulty or concern you might anticipate with using this document at any one of these levels: family, community, larger society.

6. Handouts: Ask participants to now look at All Children Have Rights and Responsibilities (Handout PE #1d). Ask for comments. Give participants time to look over this handout. The rights and responsibilities listed are those covered in this program.

Next give participants their Human Rights Action Step Journal (Handout Appendix C, beginning on page 118). Encourage participants to draw on/design their cover while you continue as below.

Explain: "This journal has copies of the action steps for each week. It also has blank paper for you to write down things you've done or ideas you have for actions you'd like to do. This journal is to prompt us each week to think about what action steps we can do in order to obtain our vision. What can each of us do differently? Will our parenting change? How will we respond to our children as a result of today's discussion? Are there things we might do differently in our community?"

7. Closing comments: "We are teaching this Roots, Rights, & Responsibilities program because we believe that children are more likely to reach their fullest potential when their basic human rights are guaranteed, and because of their vulnerability, special protections and care are assured to them. We believe a healthy society depends on access to these rights and protections for all children.

8. Distribute Curriculum Overview (Handout PE #1c). "As you can see from our syllabus, we have many interesting discussions planned for the next few weeks."

9. Assignments:
"Next week we will discuss action steps you've taken. Then we will create a Human Rights Agreement and continue discussing human rights and children.

"Also for next week, go through your magazines, newspapers, and news reports and save, or write in your journal about, those articles or reports which are dealing with your child's roots, rights, or responsibilities. We will share them with each other at the beginning of the next session. Also, chat with your child about what a right and a responsibility are. Today they began to learn about how rights and responsibilities go together. Please bring your Action Step Journal and The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with you each week."

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