POSTED ON BEHALF OF KELLY RYAN
One of the challenges for any teacher, practitioner, and parent is trying to find the best way to teach children about those difficult, scary, and challenging topics that are a part of our world. TeachUNICEF is rooted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and provides unique topic and age appropriate activities and lesson plans to help teach children about human rights, armed conflict, human trafficking, and other important topics. Moreover, TeachUNICEF resources are aimed at students in a variety of contexts and locations.
“TeachUNICEF is a portfolio of free global education resources. Resources cover grades PK-12, are interdisciplinary (social studies, science, math, English/language arts, foreign/world languages), and align with standards. The lesson plans, stories, and multimedia cover topics ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to Water and Sanitation.
Our mission is to support and create well-informed global citizens who understand interconnectedness, respect and value diversity, have the ability to challenge injustice and inequities and take action in personally meaningful ways. We hope that in providing engaging and academically rich materials that offer multiple voices, we can encourage the exploration of critical global issues while presenting opportunities to take action.”-TeachUNICEF
The lesson plans provided by TeachUNICEF are divided by topic/grade level and by lesson plan, readings, videos, and audio. A Child Rights lesson plan for PK-2nd grade students includes an entire coloring book that encourages students to learn what rights are and why they are given to children. A 9-12th grade lesson plan on gender equality provides students with stories of children from around the world and asks them to chart the trend of girls in primary education programs in the last decade.
The TeachUNICEF map shows viewers how the program is used around the globe. Pins are drawn on a world map to indicate how and where TeachUNICEF implimented. If you click on a pin the website will play a video or direct you to a lesson plan unique to the particular geographic area. This makes the project not only helpful to teach in different contexts around the globe, but it also helps teachers teach their students about issues, challenges, and solutions in schools far from their own classrooms. Similarly, the “Field Note” section allows teacher, parents, and youth to share their experiences and how they are implementing TeachUNICEF.
One of my favorite sections is the “Take Action” page. This section allows the viewer to participate in an active way to accomplish a global goal. Supported by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, many opportunities are given for students, teachers, or anyone else to participate in advocacy, volunteering, raising funds for projects, and more. This, coupled with the free lesson plans, provides an active learning resource for TeachUNICEF participants.
This program hits on many of the pillars of peace education. However, I think it most directly relates to exploring approaches to peace and skill building. The TeachUNICEF lesson plans address many issues affecting people, especially children, all around the world. As previously mentioned, the lesson plans talk about human trafficking, armed conflict, gender inequality, etc. Many of the lesson plans use narratives of children in conflict or in poverty to show what life is like in their environment. Skill building is also an important part of TeachUNICEF through the “Take Action” opportunities. My favorite is the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program which not only raises funds for UNICEF but also raises awareness for its programs.
TeachUNICEF is a wonderful and free resource for all teachers, parents, practitioners, and students. It is grounded in the CRC and uses activity based, reading, visual, and audio techniques to educate students on tough issues. Most importantly, it gives students ways in which they can advocate for peace through action!