Written by Alyssa Faulkner (Project Worker on UNCRC Framework Project at Children’s Parliament)
As part of the UNCRC Framework project, the Children and Families Panel had an in-person meet-up in Stirling. The theme of the days was ‘Stories’, impressing the importance of everyone’s unique stories, and the fact that every voice in the room matters. The children and the adults participated in different activities on the day, which allowed both groups to speak openly about their own personal stories and learn in styles that worked for both groups.
The Childrens programme consisted of 5 sessions that the children and young people rotated between:
1. The Story Wagon with Luke Winter
As part of the day, we invited The Story Wagon along (pictured above), which is run by Luke Winter. This incredible session saw the children going in small groups to The Story Wagon and coming up with stories/poems. Firstly, Luke expertly guided them through writing short stories about random topics, getting them used to the flow of writing. The children then wrote stories about children rights, a topic that the children/young people have learnt about extensively. Pictured below are a couple of stories from that session:
Definitely not left
As I write
I think of all the things
That have been done wrong
All of the lefts
Instead of rights
Children’s rights are important”.
“Children’s rights is all about family, what you love, happiness, being with them, kindness from family members. You get nice things. Fun.”
2. Storytelling with Shona Cowie
We also had Shona Cowie along, who is a traditional storyteller and participatory artist. She led the children/young people through interactive stories, and this was a favourite on the day! Each of the storytelling sessions were tailored to different age groups, and the children were able to help personalise the stories with Shona.
3. Framework planning with Vicky
The children and young people went to Vicky, who is the Capacity Building Manager at Children’s Parliament. Vicky ran a session with the children using ‘Dignity’ and ‘Kindness’ on our cut-outs of children . The cut-outs were painted with chalk paint and the children wrote their ideas for the framework on the cut-outs.
4. Arts and Crafts with Ricarda
Ricarda, who is the Learning & Operations Officer at JRS Knowhow and part of the wider UNCRC Framework team, was running the arts and crafts station. Here we had wooden buildings, birds and paper, and participants could decorate their favourite public service building! Below are some examples of the creative work.
5. Labyrinth of Children’s Rights with Professional Panel with Mary and Sarah
The children got the opportunity to play our board game ‘The Labyrinth of Children’s Rights’ with the Professionals Panel! The Professionals Panel runs parallel to the Children and Families Panel and is run by Mary (Project Officer) and Sarah (Development Manager) from Together (Scottish Aliance for Children’s Rights). We had a member of the Professional Panel come along and play a board game with the children and young people. The Labyrinth of Children’s Rights board game was created specifically for this project, as a tool for the families to play and learn about children’s rights together. The game has examples of children’s rights practice, and you move forwards or backwards, almost like snakes and ladders, and the children and young people got the opportunity to ask the professional panel member questions whilst playing the game.
The adults had a session with Eilidh Turnbull (Trainee Solicitor at Just Rights Scotland) called ‘UNCRC and the law’ where they learned more about the legal ramifications of the UNCRC and got an opportunity to ask questions about UNCRC, children’s human rights and professionals.
Rona Blackwood (Head of Programmes) introduced the adults to the ‘Unfearties’ programme – https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/unfearties/ – and discussed the wider work of Children’s Parliament.
Culture Sharing session
At the end of the day, we had all the families and facilitators come together and ran a culture sharing session. We had representatives from eight different countries in the room, and we invited families and staff members to share aspects of their culture. We learned about the origins of Chinese writing, we had a lullaby and childhood songs from Pakistan, Yemen and Syria, a fun children’s song and recipe from Germany, and an amazing recital of the Scottish poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ and a rendition of a special tune called Calum’s Road on the fiddle. It was great to come together and celebrate everyone’s culture, and know that all the children in the room, despite where they are from, are entitled to the same children’s human rights.
There was a great vibe to the day, and it was excellent to see all the families’ sharing stories and bonding over children’s rights. Each and every family included in the Children and Families Panel has contributed excellent lived experience that is invaluable to the overall project. The contributions from the Children and Families Panel will go directly into the Skills and Knowledge Framework and Training Plan that is being developed by the project team.