Our mission is to help foster children’s rights through a variety of entertaining but also educational book series. Our intention is to make a contribution to an enhanced understanding by all segments of society of children’s protection and participation rights. In educating on children’s rights, we are simultaneously addressing universal basic human rights principles such as equality. Our mandate is consistent with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly which called for progressive instruction on human rights at both the primary and secondary school level. As has been noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, there is a continuing scarcity of practical materials directed to the education of children on human rights. This collection is intended to help fill that gap.
Our books can be used in different ways for different age groups from pre-elementary to elementary, from intermediate to secondary and adult. For instance, the books may be used as stories to be read aloud to the younger child while the elementary and junior high student will benefit from reading the stories independently and working with the children’s glossary at the end of each story. Parents and/or teachers may then engage the somewhat older child in discussion using the sections on key concepts introduced and the discussion questions included in each book as a framework. The books can be integrated into various school curriculum areas such as reading, literature and social studies. The books may also be especially useful for students struggling with literacy skills regardless of age offering an enjoyable, informative, and uplifting reading experience.
Peace Education as Core School Curriculum
Both UNICEF and the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are major advocates of peace education as core curriculum. In its “Integrated Framework of Action and Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy” issued in Paris in 1995, UNESCO declared that: “Education should promote knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills conducive to respect for human rights and to an active commitment to the defense of such rights.” The period 2001-2010 was declared November 10, 1998 by the United Nations as “The International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children the World.” Clearly, educators and parents have a critical role to play in fostering that culture of peace. The curriculum offered here, integrating literature and peace education provides an entertaining and stimulating vehicle for raising children’s awareness concerning human rights and peace issues.
Poetry and Fantasy in the Teaching of Core Universal Values
The curriculum on human rights and peace offered here uses the vehicle of poetry to discuss equality and social justice issues often with a light-hearted or satirical touch. Children, after all, relate better to language forms that are entertaining and rhythmic. Poetry speaks to the heart as well as the mind and as such is highly engaging. Teaching values through entertaining literature is certainly a well-established tradition, from folktales to fairy tales to the poetry of Dr. Seuss.
Given that at its core peace education seeks to foster the capacity for empathy, poetry is an ideal vehicle for the introduction of peace and human rights issues. Children can further relate more easily to the more informal, and personal style involved in children’s poetry. Like fairy tales and folktales, the poetry presented here also has its hero. The heroine in this collection is a young child Angeline. She possesses humor, sensitivity, wisdom, a sense of social justice and a great joy of life. These, are of course, among the essential human qualities required for peaceful co-existence and the very qualities also which can develop and thrive only in a peaceful environment. The stories in this collection speak of the child’s human dignity and his or her right to a good and peaceful life with the love and support of caring adults.
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