Teaching HRE in less traditional subjects......The song "Every Man, Woman, and Child", dedicated to the Unversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), was written between 1983-86. The connected HRE curricula, first published as "Project Manual: Human Rights for All Creation" is currently being revised as part of a series, "Music for International Education", available at www.spiralingmusic.com. The curriculum was developed in Oakland, CA, in a variety of settings: YMCA Summer Day Camp , program then known as "Social Awareness Via the Arts", Piedmont Ave. Child Development Center (before and after school program), Saint Leo's School (private), grades 5-8, and Cole Elementary School (public). The initial day camp experience included the following activities: Visit from a guest speaker, Dr. Karl Schmitthausler, member of East Bay UNA/USA. Dr. Karl invited the children to consider what rights they would want everybody in the world to have. The kids raised their hands, contributed their thoughts, and Dr. Karl wrote the list on a blackboard. Art projects followed, and I taught the song and gestures during the week. We arranged a field trip to a near-by sound studio, and the children recorded the complete song. We discussed with the children the agencies which were in place overseeing the UDHR. The culmination of the project included a bulletin board of the art work, an end of camp assembly performance, and sending a gift cassette of the song to Mrs. Else Stamatopoulos-Robbins at the New York Office of the U.N. Many months later, I received a phone call, and the children of Oakland who had completed the project(by then we had tried it out at the Child Development Center and the two elementary schools) were all invited to fly to NY and perform for the Amnesty International Human Rights Day Program, Dec.10, 1987. Following that performance, I met with Mrs. Else Stamatopoulos in her office and we discussed refinements of the curricula, which would include further alignment of the children's ideas with the literal text of the UDHR. For example, one child had said, "We have the right to dance", and we found a complimentary article stating the right to leisure,development of culture, etc. In order facilitate this refinement, we worked together over the year to come up with a paraphrase chart. In 1988 there was a large UDHR 40th anniversary celebration, hosted by Amnesty International at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I contacted the event producers, shared the video footage of the performance at the UN in NY, and they decided to invite the children to present the song, requesting a further refinement, that even more of the UDHR articles be included. Back to the drawing board. I worked with Jim Costanzos, the head teacher at the Child Development Center, and we trained twenty 3-10 year olds to speak a full variety of rights. The event was on a Saturday, and the field trip worked well with many parent chaperones. The curricula later became part of a program offered through a performing arts educational group, "Opera Piccola". In collaboration with Susanah Wood, the director, we wrote a play entitled "Global Village". We applied for and were awarded a grant to be used with the Daly City Afterschool Recreation Programs. At the end of several months activities and preparation, a performance for the community was offered. In the year 1998, celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the UDHR brought many more major events and performance opportunities. This project has often worked in terms of supply and demand. I saw the opportunities lining up, and scheduled a meeting with Jerry de Noto, the principal of Saint Mary's Chinese Day School in SF. The school is bi-lingual, and works with many immigrant families. I was inspired to have the opportunity to work with children who could translate the UDHR into Chinese. Jerry met with the faculty and orchestrated a school-wide study of the material, both in social studies and religion classes. I went once a week for four weeks and taught the music in the regular choir class time. When the major civic events were being planned at Masonic Auditorium and later that year at Herbst Theatre in SF, I coordinated, again, the field trips and public presentations of the song. I work closely with an African drummer, Pope Flyne, who during that year was working with an afterschool youth program in south SF. It was really fun, going there to teach the song to the youth, and having several rehearsals bringing that group together with the children from the Chinese Day School. The backgrounds of the two groups were as diverse as could be imagined, yet they were singing the same song and speaking the rights that belong to all people. Several things stand out in my experience, in view of the questions "What were your successes?" and "What did the students gain from these experiences?" Reaching beyond the everyday routines, the children and youth who studied this curricula had opportunities to go out into the adult community that participates in world affairs; to mingle, listen to and "open for" keynote speakers, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Arun Ghandi, and Ingeborg Brienes. The children saw themselves as having something to offer,and were encouraged to invite their parents and friends, and could often later see themselves later on TV. Their families got to participate in the field trips, and often video-taped and sent copies to other family members, even in other countries, even in China! I would not be complete in this report without adding a few notes about my own son's growth. Chris Ray was four years old in 1983 when I began this project. He was eight years old the year we were invited to fly to NY to perform at the U.N. At various times in various presentations he would choose different human rights to speak. I noticed among the other children as well, that there were usually strong connections between their personal experiences and the rights they would want to give voice to. This was carried over into their daily lives as expression, and gave them the ability to positively impact their own life experiences. Merrill Collins ======== North American Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education-na/markup/maillist.php If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <email@example.com>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
[Reply to this message] [Start a new topic] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index] [List Home Page] [HREA Home Page]