Deconstructing the Concept of Childhood

Rationale / Development

This module seeks to broaden student understanding of childhood as a category and encourages open dialogue on the definition of child rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It is an interactive module which draws on a range of partner stories relating to childhood and child rights.


40 minutes


The Process

  • Students are given a summary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989 from UNICEF). Students are asked to identify some of the common themes present (e.g. education, protection, freedom, health etc.). As an alternative to examining this summary, students could also look at a number of video resources produced by other organisations. Some examples are in the reference list below.
  • Discuss with students:
    • What is a child? Is there a universal definition?
    • Are some of these rights more important than others?
    • Are any of these rights problematic?
  • Provide students with the partner stories (attached) to read and discuss in small groups. Each of these stories provide a particular perspective of childhood and children’s rights.
  • Use the body reflection cards to ask students to reflect on:
    • Brain: something you learned about child rights
    • Ear: something that was difficult to hear/ understand about child rights
    • Eye: an observation you have made about child rights
    • Heart: something you have felt about child rights
    • Lungs: something that makes you express profound disbelief about child rights
  • Bring the students back to discuss:
    • Do any of the stories change your thinking about universal definitions of a child and child rights?


Partner stories