Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

Basic needs and children's rights

Year level: F-2

Issue: Human rights

Students explore their own needs and the needs of others, and reflect on what and who helps them to lead safe and comfortable lives. They develop awareness of their rights and the access to rights that children in other countries have.

Boys walking on stilts in Solomon Islands.

Boys walking on stilts in Solomon Islands. Photo by Rob Maccoll for AusAID

Interdependence and globalisation, Peace building and conflict resolution, Social justice and human rights

Australian Curriculum links

Learning areas



Identify some differences between imaginative and informative texts (ACELY1648)

Year 1

Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening behaviours, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions (ACELY1656)

Year 2

Discuss different texts on a similar topic, identifying similarities and differences between the texts (ACELY1665) 

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical behavior
  • Intercultural understanding

Activity 1: Right to a name

Students consider why their name is an important part of their identity, central to their sense of self and belonging as well as a key to access services.

Play a name game to help students focus on the importance of being recognised by name. For example, to play ‘Who am I?’, blindfold someone and ask them to identify the person who says 'hello' to them.

Draw a picture of yourself (or use a digital camera) and make notes on:

  • Your name – Why are you called by this name? What does it mean?
  • Your place – Where were you born?
  • Your family – Which position in the family are you?

Describe what it feels like

  • if you aren't recognised or your name is mispronounced
  • to be called by more than one name by different people, or at different times
  • to be ignored by someone who doesn't know your name

Adopt a new name for a day (eg the number of your position in your family; your family name; a favourite name). Make yourself a name tag so others will know what to call you. What does it feel like to be called this name?

Collect some items and documents that have your name on them (eg school books, birth certificate, passport). Why is your name important on these items? Why is it important for people to know who you are?

Role-play what might happen if your name was left off a list to attend school and you could not add it. How would you feel? Think of and role-play other situations that highlight why your name is important, eg for access to services, and for your sense of self and belonging to groups.

Write a sentence to explain why names are important.

Display your sentence with a gallery of pictures of everyone in the class.

Activity 2: What children need to survive and develop

Students develop an understanding that children around the world have the same needs and the right to have their needs met and protected.


  • a collection of culturally diverse items and photos to stimulate discussion relating to survival and development needs, eg water, food, housing, medicine, books, toys, clothing, family photos, items representing culture or beliefs, mobile phones.
  • Photo essays about the rights of the child are available from UNICEF
  • consequences chart


Brainstorm and list things you need to live a safe and fulfilling life. Do this in pairs or small groups. Include things you need to survive, and things that you need to develop your personality and make the most of your talents.

Describe and discuss the items and photos. What ideas about needs do these give you?

Review and add to your list of needs.

Agree on a combined list with the class. Have you included nutritious food, clean water, clothing, rest, shelter, play, family, healthcare, cultural life, safety, education, love, protection from harm and freedom of speech?


  • Do children in Australia have all of these things?
  • Do all children in the world have all of these things?

Review the series of photos available from UNICEF. Write a statement about children's access to basic needs.

Select one of the needs and use picture books, magazines or multimedia to collect different images to show different ways of meeting this need.

  • Who helps to make sure our needs are met?
  • What would happen if you did not have these needs met?

Create a consequences chart to show your ideas.

Role-play different ways of meeting basic needs.

Agree on some sentences beginning with ‘Every child . . .’ (continue with verbs such as 'needs', 'should have', 'deserves') to summarise key ideas about children’s needs and their right to have these needs met.

Create your own pictures about what children need to survive and develop. Put these together with your sentences in an interactive presentation or a classroom display. Add to this as you continue to explore children’s rights.

Activity 3: Children learning around the world

Students consider how education supports growth and development. They develop awareness that access to education has lifelong implications and is a key development right for all children.


  • A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World, Amanda Rayner (ed) 2006, produced in association with UNICEF, Dorling Kindersley, London.
  • Children Just Like Me by Anabel & Barnabas Kindersley 1995, in association with United Nations Children's Fund, Dorling Kindersley, New York.
  • life-size silhouettes pasted on paper.


Use the books and your own experience as a basis for discussion about what children learn at school, eg specific subjects, social skills, ideas about the world and yourself. Think about both lessons and playtime.

Write suggestions.

Work in pairs to illustrate one of the skills learnt at school and connect it to uses of that skill, eg writing could be connected to communicating with others, or making a shopping list.

Compile ideas using a web map. Work in groups. Choose one child in A Life Like Mine. Add that child’s face to a silhouette.

Brainstorm and discuss:

  • What dreams might the child have for when they grow up (eg occupation, lifestyle)? Use words or pictures around the outline of the child to represent the dreams.
  • What will the child need to be able to do, and what they will need to learn, to achieve the dreams? Record responses inside the outline.

Introduce your child to the class and share ideas about the importance of education in helping the child achieve their dreams. 

Use your learning about these children to reflect on similarities and differences between your schooling and access to education, and that of children in other countries. 

Activity 4: Time for play

Students explore the importance of play and design a playground considering varying needs and abilities. This provides a springboard for reflecting on inclusiveness in a range of contexts affecting children.



Role-play a situation where you are playing, for others to identify what you are doing.

Discuss how you feel when you play.

Complete a Y-chart  with your ideas about what play looks, sounds and feels like.


  • How important do you think it is for all children to have time and opportunity to play?
  • Do all children like doing the same kinds of things when they play?
  • Why might different children enjoy different things?

Think about cultural differences (see examples of play in A Life Like Mine) and also about varying needs and abilities.

Imagine that you are able to design a new school playground to cater as well as possible for all children (eg children who like to be active and those who like to sit quietly, children who may have difficulty walking or seeing, children of different ages). What different sorts of spaces and types of equipment will you have? Look at catalogues and photos for ideas.

Create drawings and models of your playground. Work in groups and present your ideas to the class.

Reflect on how and why you have made your playground an inclusive place. What other situations can you think of where it is important to make sure that no children feel excluded?


Explore and experience games and toys from around the world.

Activity 5: Rights for every child

Students explore an illustrated interpretation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and reflect on and express what they have learnt about the needs and rights of all children around the world.


  • For Every Child: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Words and Pictures, adapted by Caroline Castle 2002, Random House Children’s Books, London.
  • student work from Activity 2.


Share For Every Child.

Choose an illustration with a partner or in a small group.

Discuss what it shows and what it makes you think about.

Share with the class your thoughts and feelings about the message of that part of the book.

Revisit sentences and images you created earlier about what children need (see Activity 2).

  • Compare your ideas with the messages in For Every Child.
  • Discuss any additional ideas or understandings you have gained, or any questions you might have.
  • Add to your earlier presentation or display as appropriate.

Create a painting about children’s rights, including a caption. Exhibit.

Write one thing you could do to make the world a fairer, safer place for young people everywhere.

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Boys walking on stilts in Solomon Islands.
Photo by Rob Maccoll for AusAID
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Boys walking on stilts in Solomon Islands. Photo by Rob Maccoll for AusAID