Brit toddlers to get lessons in human rights and cultural harmony

June 21st, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 21 (ANI): British toddlers as young as three will now be taught about human rights as part of a Unicef scheme.

In the project, nursery teachers would be teaching kids about human rights and respecting different cultures.

The toddlers would be taught that though all people across the world live different lives, everyone has a right to food, water and shelter.

The teachers have been advised to treat children as independent human beings, and that they have the “right” to choose their toys or have a drink of water whenever they want.

The Unicef scheme is designed to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children everywhere have the right to survival, freedom to develop, protection from abuse and the opportunity to participate in society.

The scheme has already been implemented in private and state-run nursery schools in six areas from Durham to Dorset and from Rochdale to Wandsworth.

The organisers believe that it will be tailored for younger children to make them clearly understand the concept of human rights.

“The work is about rights and knowledge of the UN Convention, and is shared with children at an appropriate level for them, Telegraph quoted Pam Hand, an early years advisory teacher from Hampshire who is a key figure in the scheme, as saying.

However, experts who have dismissed the scheme as an “absurd” waste of time, believe that it is likely to leave young children confused.

“Toddlers are still working at a very emotional level. They should be told stories and allowed to sing and play. That’s what will turn them into normal people,” said Sue Palmer, a former headteacher and author of the book Toxic Childhood.

Dr Richard House, of the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education at Roehampton University, added: “The idea that this kind of learning is appropriate for nursery-age children is absurd, and betrays a complete lack of understanding of child development.

“Modern culture seems determined to treat children like ‘mini-adults’ in all kinds of ways, and with major negative effects in terms of their premature growing-up,” he added. (ANI)

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