A Creative arts-based approach to using children's rights as a vehicle for tolerance education at the senior elementary school level
SubjectChildren's rights & tolerance
Study and teaching (middle school)
Social justice & tolerance curricula
Arts & tolerance education
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The following arts-based qualitative research study investigates the potential value of art-based children's rights and tolerance curricula in Canadian schools. The study addresses the question: Are the arts an effective way to educate children about their rights and the importance of tolerance in a democratic society? The research study was conducted in a grade seven classroom in a Nortrhern Ontario community, where students created artworks to demonstrate their understanding of the topics of children's rights and tolerance. Data was collected through individual student and classroom teacher interviews, a class focus group and digital images of students' artworks. Interview and focus group audio recordings were transcribed and discourse analysis was conducted to identify emergent themes in students' comments and artworks. The overall goal of the study was to provide students the opportunity to respond to the curriculum unit they experienced and provide feedback on the potential value of arts-based children's rights and tolerance curricula. Students produced unique and individual artworks that demonstrated their personal understanding of children's rights and tolerance through a variety of social justice themes including racism, homophobia and homelessness. All of the participants responded positively to the unit and value of using the arts to teach children about the importance of children's rights and tolerance in a democratic society.