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9687 Module 4 - Children's Right to Play
Transcript of 9687 Module 4 - Children's Right to Play
History of Children's Rights
1924 - Eglantyne Jebb convinced the League of Nations in Geneva to adopt a Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
1948 - The United Nations adopted a Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
1979 - Poland proposed a Convention on the Rights of the Child and a ten-year drafting process began.
1989 - The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was complete, and ratified by most countries over the next three years. (Thomas, p. 137)
Summary of Children's Rights
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989. The UNCRC contains 41 articles pertaining to children's rights (Children's Rights Alliance). The articles can be divided into three main categories: "provision, protection, and participation" rights
(James & James, 2008, p. 110).
Survival and development rights. This includes food, shelter, access to medical services, education, and play.
Right to be protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Right to express opinions, have a say in matters that affect them, and join associations.
Summary of the UNCRC
Play was defined by 9687 course participants as “an open, non-directed means of learning through exploration which contributes to cognitive, social and physical development” (Carriere, 2013, Msg 14).
BMZ (2013, May 13). Children’s and young people’s rights. Retrieved from http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=mJggYdw3I0k
Canadian Child Care Federation (2004a). I have the right to play! Learning through play toolkit (RS78).
Retrieved from http://www.cccf-fcsge.ca/wp-content/uploads/RS_78-e.pdf
Canadian Child Care Federation (2004b) Supporting children to learn through play. Learning through play toolkit (RS77).
Retrieved from http://www.cccf-fcsge.ca/wp-content/uploads/RS_77-e.pdf
Canadian Child Care Federation (2012). About CCCF. Retrieved from http://www.cccf-fcsge.ca/about/
Carriere, C. (2013, Oct. 6). Re: Play [Msg 14]. Message posted to https://owl.uwo.ca/portal/site/7f69d8d8aaa8-4e1d-9892-89f28f3bd4b6/page/3e400444-7113- 4866-860f-07859005cb6a
Children’s Rights Alliance (n.d.). The United Nations convention on the rights of the child.
Retrieved from http://www.childrensrights.ie/childrens-rights-ireland/un-convention-rights-child
Cradub (2007, Sep. 24). The UN convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_2nA49p3yw#t=42
GreatStartMichigan (2011, Jan. 19). The importance of play. Retrieved from http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=I5TQ7cFUQ20
Hall, E. L., & Rudkin, J. K. (2011). Seen and heard: Children's rights in early childhood education. Teachers College Press.
James, Alison, & James, Adrian. (2008). Key Concepts in Childhood Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd.
Kellett, M. (2005). Children as active researchers: a new research paradigm for the 21st century NCRM Methods Review Papers 003.
Retrieved from http://oro.open.ac.uk/7539/1/MethodsReviewPaperNCRM-003.pdf.
Ministry of Education. (2010) The full-day early learning kindergarten program (draft). Ontario: Ministry of Education.
Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/kindergarten_english_june3.pdf
Raby, R. (2007). Across a great gulf? Conducting research with adolescents. In Best, A.L. (Ed). Representing youth: Methodological issues in critical youth studies (39-59). New York: New York University Press.
Thomas, N. (2008). Children’s Rights and the Law. In Maynard, Trisha, & Thomas, Nigel. (Eds.) An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies (2nd ed.), (pp.134-145). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd.
Tietoy (2013, May 30). Children speaking about the importance of play. Retrieved from http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=sby38BbLZuY
UNICEF (2007, Sep. 27). Article 31. Retrieved from http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=HX5LxLK8v5k&list=PLE60D00B9FA6DB7E7
The Canadian Child Care Federation is an organization “committed to best practice in early childhood education.” They explain, “in order to protect and enhance our children, to promote their safety and their healthy growth and development, we are committed to providing Canadians with the very best in early learning and child care knowledge and best practices. Our tools are research and knowledge dissemination, the creation and nurturing of active networks” (CCCF, 2012, “About”).
"I Have a Right to Play!"
What kind of right?
Importance of Play
The CCCF publishes Resource Sheets pertaining to issues of child rights. Resource Sheet #78 deals with the issue of play. They use Article 31 of the UNCRC to support their argument.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity. (UNCRC, 1989)
Play is a provision and protection right. Research
shows that "play contributes to a child's healthy development. It helps build social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills" (CCCF, 2004a). However, play can also be defined as a protection right. CCCF (2004a) argues that "when we consider that children are expected to achieve more and more, and that they have less and less free time available for play, it's clear that play time has become a right in need of protection."
Play is a way children learn.
Play develops children's creativity and problem-solving skills.
Play is healthy. It promotes strength, coordination, and brain development.
Play teaches new skills and builds children's self-esteem.
Play teaches children social skills that help them develop friendships. (CCCF, 2004b).
Maria Montessori (1967) argued that "the need for activity is almost stronger than the need for food" (as cited in Hall & Rudkin, 2011, p. 79).
As adults, it is easy to silence children due to our positions of power (James & James, 2008). However, when considering children's rights it is important to remember that children are "social actors" (James & James, 2008, p. 28) and that they "have important things to tell us about their lives” (Raby, 2007, p. 39). Kellett (2005) suggests that “with regard to childhood itself – in the sense of what it is like to be a child – it is children who have the expert knowledge” (p. 9). We need to hear them by acknowledging their views and ideas in all aspects of their lives, including play. This makes play a participation right. The Children's Rights Alliance states that participation rights "encompass children's freedom to express opinions [and] to have a say in matters affecting their own lives."
If children are encouraged to make choices regarding their play, the activities they choose will depend on the child. "For some, play is a chance to be with others [and] to share, even in the most humble of settings, in communities with toys, games, on outdoor gym equipment, in a sandbox, with a jump rope, or in an abandoned cardboard box. For others, play is the fervent desire for the gift of time [...] with Mom, Dad, a special caregiver or friend" (CCCF, 2004a).
Ontario's Early Learning Philosophy
The Ontario Ministry of Education agrees that play is crucial to development. The new kindergarten curriculum document outlines that "effective Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten classrooms make use of play and embed opportunities for learning through play in the physical environment and play activities (ELECT, p. 15). Both child-initiated free play and more structured play-based learning opportunities should be integral parts of the early learning classroom" (Ministry of Education, 2010, p. 13).
The CCCF gives a clear overview of children's right to play, while also highlighting the social, cognitive, emotional, and physical benefits of play.
Further, the CCCF recognizes that children are unique, and encourages parents and teachers to "let [the child] guide the play" (2004a) which demonstrates the perspective of children as social actors who can construct their learning as they explore areas that interest them.
Last week my cousin shared something that will always come to mind when I think about the importance of play for young children. She is five years old and said, "kindergarten stresses me out; there is not enough play time." This statement supports Hall and Rudkin's (2011) argument that "when adults take the time to listen and to amplify the voices of children, the children's deep thinking becomes apparent"
(p. 91). Further, the comment demonstrates her competency to understand her own needs, and in my opinion, summarizes the importance of play in children's lives.