Amnesty International, First Steps. Human rights in the early years.

  • Evans, Erica (PI)

Project Details


Amnesty International funded our researchers, Kath Tayler, Deb Price and Erica Evans, to produce a pack of activities and discussion prompts to support the teaching of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in early years settings.

The aims of the project were to:

> unpick the articles of the UDHR and make them accessible to young children with the support of the adults who care for them.
> establish the language of human rights from an early age.
> extend the concept of human rights to include all people everywhere – to show that children have their own rights and to help them explore and voice these rights.
> show that with these rights come responsibilities; rights belong to everyone, which sometimes means that we can’t have what we want at the expense of someone else.
> provide a resource for early years practitioners both to explore the articles with children and to challenge and extend their own understanding.
> remind practitioners and children that we should not take rights for granted.
> influence and enhance general practice in early years settings, such that the resources are a starting point for developing further activities.
> mesh the principles of the UDHR into every aspect of early years practice.

Key findings

The resource was developed around five themes:

> Feelings – The right to have our own thoughts and ideas. The right to make up our own minds and to share our ideas with others. The right to be treated fairly.

> Bodies - The right not to be hurt. The right to feel safe and be free.

>Relationships and Belonging – The right to meet our friends. The right to choose to join in or not. The right to belong.

> Wellbeing – The right to be looked after. The right to enjoyment. The right to rest and relax. The right to peace.

> Choice and Voice – The right to believe what we want to believe and the right to express this. The right to participate.

Each theme is based on four articles and has three main activities and an extension activity. The CD that accompanies the pack contains resources that will be needed for some of the activities.

The resource contains links to all the early years curricula frameworks in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Launched in 2017 and distributed to early years settings in the UK, the hope is that this resource will spark creative and interesting discussions with children and communicate rights and responsibilities in an accessible and inspiring way.
Short titleFirst Steps
Effective start/end date1/01/1631/12/16


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