Children’s rights education programme launched for Kiwi kids

A new education programme for schools that aims to teach Kiwi kids about their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was launched yesterday.

The free online programme has been developed by educators at Save the Children to help children in Aotearoa New Zealand learn about their rights, from access to healthcare, housing and education to being protected from violence or practicing their culture. It includes a range of cross-curricular resources for teachers, children and the wider whānau and school community.

“Rights are an important part of our children’s everyday lives,” says Save the Children’s Advocacy and Research Director Jacqui Southey.

“But despite New Zealand signing up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child almost 30 years ago (1993), many New Zealanders have little understanding of the Convention or what child rights mean for our children in Aotearoa.”

Southey says that while there is a requirement to teach children about rights in the curriculum, learning about children’s rights in a New Zealand context is less common.

“Children often learn about the rights of others in overseas or historical contexts, rather than their own rights in their everyday lives. Knowing about their rights adds a protective layer where children understand they have the right to be protected from harm or to have a say on issues that are important to them.

“When children learn about their rights, they also learn about the rights of others. Research shows they are more like to respect the rights of the others and speak up when the see injustices or to offer support to the those who need it.

“Parents can also be empowered through knowing their child’s rights. Knowing your child’s rights is a powerful tool if a parent finds themselves needing to advocate on behalf of their child, for example, in receiving quality healthcare.”

The resources can be used in a remote learning environment and are designed for a wide range of ages, from early childhood to intermediate, with secondary resources currently being developed. Future plans for the programme include connecting Kiwi kids with Save the Children’s work in the Pacific and overseas through online platforms.

Save the Children has also joined with long-term partner Peppa Pig and renowned education publishing house Twinkl to create resources designed to support mindfulness in children.

Twinkl New Zealand Country Manager Imogen Wood says Twinkl is passionate about supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children across Aotearoa, as mindfulness is increasingly important, especially given the ever-changing circumstances that children have faced over the past 18 months.

“We are delighted to partner with Save the Children and Peppa Pig to collaborate on a series of teaching resources to support October’s ‘Peppa Practices Mindfulness’. The resources cover ECE through to Year 6 and provide strategies for coping with frustration and worries.”

Teachers and schools can sign up to the free programme online at via the e-newsletter link.

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