34. What a Wonderful World
How do you want to live?
||Discrimination, Environment, Poverty and social exclusion
|Level of complexity
|Type of activity
||Children draw contrasting pictures of environments where they would or would not want to live. They discuss what factors make the differences and how to influence their own environment
||• To discuss the concrete and abstract factors of the environment
• To evaluate our own and others’ environment
• To discuss ways to protect and/or change their own environment and that of others
||• Gather colouring materials.
• Copy the handout for each child.
• Colouring materials, e.g. paints, markers, crayons, pencils
• Drawing pins or sticky tape to hang drawings
- Lay out colours of every kind. Ask the children to think about an environment they would like to have – real or imaginary – and to draw it.
- Then ask the children to think about an environment they would not like to have, and to draw it.
- When the drawings are finished, hang them and invite the children to view the mini-exhibition.
Debriefing and Evaluation
- Debrief the activity, asking questions such as these:
Relate the activity to human rights, asking questions such as these:
- Was it easy to think of the two different environments?
- Which drawing and environment do you like the most? Why?
- Which drawing and environment do you like the least? Why?
- If there were people living in the environments you have drawn, how do they feel?
- Which picture matches your real environment?
- The environment is more than just the physical space. What other factors make up a positive or negative environment? Think of factors such as opportunities, non-violence, non-discrimination, freedom and human rights.
- How does our physical environment affect us? How does our rights environment affect us?
- How would you describe the rights environment where you live?
- What would you like to change about your physical environment? Your rights environment?
- What could you do to make your environment more like the one you drew?
- Do all the children in the world have an environment they like?
- Do we have a human right to a good environment?
- Do you think we should have a right to good environment?
- What can we do to promote a good environment for all the children in the world?
Suggestions for follow-up
- The activities ‘Compasito Reporter’, p. 92, and ‘Waterdrops’, p. 176, also engage children in evaluating their community environment.
- In the activity ‘Dear Diary’, p. 99, children see the same experience from different perspectives.
Ideas for action
- Take a walk through your community and discuss with children the physical environment and what they like and don’t like about it. Help the children to develop concrete proposals for changes. Invite municipal officials to discuss the proposals with them and initiate changes.
- To communicate children’s ideas about their environment to adults in the community, make an exhibition of their drawings and ideas.
- Build on the children’s ideas for changing their environment. What can they do to improve their environment?
- Try to find ongoing projects in which children participate to support other children in more disadvantaged areas than their own. Older children might initiate new projects.
Tips for the facilitator
- Help children understand that ‘environment’ is created by both concrete, physical factors as well as abstract ones, such as the degree of rights and freedoms. Emphasize that we need both factors for a good environment. Younger children may have difficulty grasping the abstract concept of environment.
- Before doing the exercise, be clear on which aspects of environment you want to focus. Addressing the entire ‘environment’ without a clear focus will be too large and abstract.
- Use several different colouring techniques for the same drawing, e.g. wax crayons, paint, paper mosaic.