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Children in Kharkiv kindergartens learn about human rights

This experiment, an individual program on teaching children and developing legal awareness is being introduced in Kharkiv kindergarten No. 15. Officials from the city department of justice are planning to use the experience and broaden the initiative to all pre-school institutions in the city.  “Fox took Rabbit’s mirror from him, and Rabbit turns for help to the children. Rabbit is small, and sly Fox has taken away his rights”.  This is the brief essence of a tale with elements of knowledge about human rights which is being shown to 4-year-old children in the kindergarten.

It would seem that they already have a good idea what human rights are and why they’re needed judging by their answers:

  • Rights are life
  • The right to study, to friends, to medical care, to different games, to rest
  • That they don’t put you in prison, that you can live peacefully, and everything will be fine
  • That they respect you
  • That if they ask, you know your rights so you can answer
  • So that you can be friends with another person – like I’m friends with Regina

Serious topics through play

Elements of knowledge about human rights need to be included in the program for preschool education, the head of Kindergarten No. 15 Volodymyr Fecenko is convinced.

- “Loosely speaking – during artwork we’re taking part in a painting competition “Childhood without violence”.  It’s a family competition organized by the Ukraine Christian Children’s Fund. We’re introducing elements of this knowledge during the lessons. Of course it’s through play”.

Parents are pleased with the experiment.

Iryna Skorokhod, mother of a little girl attending this kindergarten, is convinced that children need this knowledge:

“My little one is 4, she can’t yet talk about it all, yet she’s already not a clear sense of her “I”. And that’s been gained here”.

Mykola Kryvochenko is the head of the city department of justice and explains that they hope to extend this individual program to all Kharkiv preschool institutions.

“We are working in close cooperation with care agencies, with the inspectorates for minors and are working to identify all cases of violence in the family, on the street, in schools.”

The city department of justice is planning to carry out a survey in Kharkiv schools, asking students several dozen questions, including: “Do people often drink a lot in your family?” and “Who punishes you at home, and what for?”


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