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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
11 Sabina Klepp Gowrie Victoria Professional Learning Team AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION The National Children's Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, actively encourages children across Australia to understand and act on their rights. Her meetings with children highlight the essence of Article 12 of The Convention: Children have a right to express their views freely in decisions and matters that affect them; that they will be heard and their views taken into account (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014). Visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website to view the child-friendly report on these meetings: www.humanrights.gov.au Children can contact Megan Mitchell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY Another example of child rights in action at a community level is happening at the Museum of Australian Democracy, in the Old Parliament House Canberra. It is the first museum in Australia to house a permanent exhibition that focuses on child rights. The inaugural exhibition on the Right to Play honours the important role children have in the cultural life of our communities. Entitled 'Play Up', it beckons the visitor to 'stand up, muck up, dress up, make up, think up and step up' (Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, 2014). Find out more at: www.moadoph.gov.au UNICEF One provocation for introducing child rights into your practice is the UNICEF photo story 'What are Child Rights?' The story explains the Convention on the Rights of the Child in simple language and with beautiful images from around the world to captivate children and adults. It is sure to spark conversations and questions with the children in your setting. Download the photo story here: www.unicef.org.au NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2014 Two global advocates for child rights, Malala Yousafzai (17) and Kailash Satyarthi (60), are the joint recipients of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. They received the award, for `their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education' (Nobelprize.org 2014). www.nobelprize.org Article 42 of The Convention emphasises that 'all children have a right to learn about their rights, including children who are not old enough to read The Convention themselves, and adults have a duty to teach children about their rights' (SNAICC, 2013: 7). Collaborating with children to support their understanding of child rights has a range of benefits, including: • Developing intercultural understanding; • Building social skills; • Developing ethical understanding; • Meeting Australian curriculum standards; • Motivating learning; • Creating emotionally safer learning environments; • Assisting children to realise their rights; • Empowering children to become active citizens (Robinson, 2013). Outcome 2 of the Early Years Learning Framework interconnects child rights with responsibility and civic relationship, 'Children are connected with and contribute to their world. Children are developing an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation' (DEEWR, 2009: 26). Carla Rinaldi, Adelaide Thinker in Residence 2012-2013, further illuminates this view of the child, inviting us to see each child as the possessor of rights but also, significantly, as the constructor of rights who demands to be respected and valued for his/her individual identity -- as unique and different (Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2013). Nurturing the seeds of child rights requires educators to take a risk, a leap of faith and confidence in young children's reason and ability. For example, how might children's rights evolve in early years settings that encourage and celebrate children's assertiveness and critical questioning over prescribed notions of compliant behaviour? Where will the child rights'pathway lead infants in programs that acknowledge and support children to make choices and decisions? Commit to starting a conversation today with children, colleagues and families about child rights. Consider how the key principles of The Convention are visible in everyday practice with children and families. What actions are needed for child rights to flourish in all areas of the service? CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN ACTION REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • AUTUMN 2015 - ISSUE 58
Reflections Issue 57 Summer 2014
Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015