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,
- to express their opinions and ideas.
Responsibilities: Children are responsible
- treating others as they would like
to be treated;
- respecting others' opinions and
- keeping agreements about rules.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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 Handouts PE #1a
- 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
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.
1. FAMILY RAINBOW CHAINS (CREATIVE
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
- 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
- Parents write affirmations on each
strip for each child in the family.
Parents also can write affirmations
from children to others in the family.
2. EYE DROPPER ART (CREATIVE EXPRESSION,
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
- 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
3. RAINBOW STEW (SENSORY)
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.
4. PRISMS (SCIENCE)
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.
5. COOPERATIVE RAINBOW (CREATIVE EXPRESSION)
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.
6. BUBBLES (SMALL MUSCLE, SENSORY
Bubbles are symbols of fleeting
moments of wonder in the world around
- Families will blow bubbles and catch
them in the air together. Can you
find the rainbow in each bubble?
7. BOOK CORNER (LANGUAGE)
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
- 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
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.
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.
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
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
- "The Rainbow Connection"
with Kermit the Frog from the audiotape
The Muppet Movie;
- "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
- "Twinkle, Twinkle Little
- "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
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 -
"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
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.
- 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.
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
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
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
8. Distribute Curriculum Overview
PE #1c). "As you can see from
our syllabus, we have many interesting
discussions planned for the next few
"Next week we will discuss
action steps you've taken. Then we will
create a Human Rights Agreement and
continue discussing human rights and
"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."