The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is undoubtedly important on a world scale; but it is also important for young children to understand the value of the UDHR. The activities below will help students reflect on how the UDHR can be explained to children in way that they can appreciate. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the UDHR by rewriting it for a younger audience, and will think critically about how to teach the topic to that audience.
This lesson is part of Facing History and Ourselves' work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and part of a series of lessons surround the declaration. Use this lesson after students have read the UDHR to engage them in a conversation about the importance of students of all ages learning the values and principles of the UDHR.
In reflecting on the principle of human dignity and the value of human rights, Eleanor Roosevelt said:
"Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places close to home-so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world."
After reading this quotation, the preamble, and the 30 articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consider how you might rewrite the declaration for a young child so that he or she could understood these essential values and principles. What would you emphasize? How would you explain it? Write out the main statements of the principles and values that you would want to teach young students in the language that you would use to help them understand. Brainstorm activities that you might use to engage students in learning these values and principles.