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Defenders for Human Rights
Gilles Julien

Gilles Julien Children’s Health and Wellness

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GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Three 60 minute class periods

How to use this lesson

Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provide inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.

In this lesson plan on Children’s Health and Wellness you will find:

  • An interview with Dr. Gilles Julien including his biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including reflection activities on Dr. Julien’s practice of social pediatrics, the issue of children and poverty in Canada, and how the Convention on the Rights of the Child supports the social pediatrics movement.
  • Three brief community defender profiles to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

To support the lesson on Children’s Health and Wellness you will also find:

  • Sections or articles of selected legal instruments that are tied to the theme.
  • A student activity that links the Moments in Time timeline of advancements and setbacks in human rights from a Canadian perspective.

You can, of course, choose to use any or all of the suggested student activities.

Learning Targets

During this lesson students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the social pediatrics approach to children’s health.
  • Become familiar with the articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Recognize the critical importance of a child’s social health in terms of future outcomes.
  • Be encouraged to support the Convention on the Rights of the Child with others.

Skills Development

After this lesson students will have improved the following skills:

  • Participating in group discussions
  • Researching, organizing and interpreting information
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Building consensus through cooperation
  • Participating in group planning and presentation
  • Implementing advocacy activities
  • Using an artistic medium to report findings and increase awareness

Guiding Questions

  1. What does the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” truly mean?
  2. What does poverty look like in your community?
  3. What are communities doing to support children in the holistic approach of social pediatrics?
  4. How does the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child support social pediatrics?


Opportunities and issues related to human rights are integrated throughout the curriculum. This lesson plan suggests student activities that will match curriculum expectations in Language, Social Sciences, Aboriginal Studies, Health, Art as well as Health and Wellness, Citizenship, Law, and Technology.


Depending on the activities chosen it may be necessary to have access to a television, the Internet, computers, and/or films (on DVD or streamed) in addition to presentation materials to support individual and group presentations. Some of the recommended materials may have a purchase cost.

Legal instruments

Speak Truth to Power Canada highlights legal instruments in their simplified forms, which relate to the themes addressed in the 12 lesson plans. Selected articles and sections of these legal instruments are offered in this lesson plan to complement the discussion and the research.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 1: Right to equality
  • Article 3: Right to life, liberty, and personal security
  • Article 25: Right to adequate living standard
  • Article 26: Right to education
  • Article 27: Right to participate in the cultural life of community

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • Legal rights
  • Equality rights

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

  • Article 2: Right to live free from discrimination
  • Article 7: Right to life, mental and physical integrity, liberty and security
  • Article 21: Paying particular attention to the needs of women, children, Elders and people with disabilities
  • Article 22: Special measures to protect the rights of, and against violence toward, women, children, Elders and persons with disabilities