Today the English Class pupils all participated in a two hour long workshop on Children’s Rights and humanitarian aid for people in need. (Universal Children’s Day was celebrated globally on the 20th of November, but the English Classes were so busy with preparations for the Christmas Carol programme that we decided to postpone our workshops until later.) Children set off in mixed age groups to assigned classrooms where they learned about the rights of children. Initially they watched a collection of short animations depicting a few of the individual articles of rights of children that have been done by artists throughout the world.
Some groups matched cards showing the the rights of children to the corresponding responsibilities of children (see above). The children discussed the cards and content as they did so. Some groups sorted a set of needs from wants together and then talked about the difference between the two.
Some groups examined news photographs of humanitarian aid and matched text to photographs. The group members discussed whether this kind of aid might ever be necessary here in Finland. They also discussed what “refuge” means and what a refugee is.
One activity that provoked a lot of thought, as well as discussion among the pupils, was one where they were asked to imagine themselves as refugees. They were then asked to reach a consensus in their own group and list the following in order of importance:
- A proper home
- To go home
- A counsellor to talk about your experiences
- To speak your own language
- Someone special to love you
- Friends to play with
- To go to school
- To learn about your own country
- To find your family
On many levels it was a thought-provoking day. Several teachers expressed surprise at how considered and thoughtful the children’s comments were. It is gratifying to know that the wheels of thought were set in motion.