How well do your children know the area they live in? Are they able to explain how to get to the hospital or a doctor’s surgery, the fire station, the town hall, the post office or school?
“My Neighbourhood – My Rights” is a children’s game that helps with knowing how to access the most important places in your commune, village or town. A properly led discussion will help your child get to know his / her rights better. You can start from a very young age. When you are out on a walk try to explain to your child that there is a town hall. Inside it there are people who are obliged to answer your questions; this is the result of our right to information. There are schools because each child has the right to education. And if something bad happens, everyone can get help in hospitals or doctor’s offices. Both the child and the parent have the right to health care.
You can create the “My Neighbourhood – My Rights” map throughout an entire month. Use your walks to link children’s rights with places they know from their everyday lives.
Materials You Will Need to Create the Map of Your Neighbourhood
You can prepare the map in a group or individually.
- Sheet of paper (A4 up to A1, depending on the size of the group)
- Colourful crayons or markers
- Printout with children’s rights
- *Small notebook or pad of paper that you can take with you when you go for a walk to draft locations of the hospital, the school or the post office
Playing the Game
- Outline the area you live in on a large sheet of paper. On the sheet mark your house and the school / kindergarten, parks, the river, the playground, etc.
- Now ask the children to indicate where on the map the following should be marked: the school / kindergarten, the doctor’s surgery, the library, the town hall or commune office, the church, the post office, the grocery store, the police station, and the fire station. We suggest that prior to preparing the map you take them on some theme-related walks during which the children can draft in their notebooks all the above-mentioned places by themselves. It will then be easier to mark them on the common map.
- When the map is finished, present the printout with children’s rights and ask your them to explain which of the rights they can associate with the places that have been marked on the map. The school is a place where we exercise our right to education; the library or the town hall – the right to information. The doctor’s surgery or hospital guarantees the children’s right to health care; in the park we can exercise our right to rest and leisure.
- Finally, discuss if the children have discovered any new rights. Was there anything that surprised them? Had they been aware of their right to information? Had they perceived the church / synagogue as a place of freedom of thought, conscience and religion? Many terms will surely sound abstract for them, yet it’s good for them to be aware from the start the rights of every little citizen.