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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

Preparatory Set

  1. Depending on the grade level of your students, ask them to read the interview with Dr. Gilles Julien.
  2. Alternatively, or in addition to, ask your students to view the video titled « La Force de la Musique : l’influence du Garage à Musique sur les connections neurologiques des enfants » [5:45 minutes; applicable to all grade levels] from Garage à Musique. Even though the video has a French title, it is language-neutral.
  3. In open discussion, ask students what they take away from the video.

Activity 1

In his interview, Dr. Julien speaks about the holistic approach to social pediatrics. He speaks of the physical, the emotional, the family, friends and community.

  1. Introduce students to Mind Map. There are numerous examples online.
  2. Ask students to form small groups and to develop their own Mind Map on chart paper that will put the child at the centre of the map and from there, the five following sections will be added:
    1. The physical element
    2. The emotional element
    3. The family element
    4. The friends element
    5. The community element
  3. From these five sections, ask students to expand upon each element to identify what is required to provide a healthy and holistic approach to child wellness.
  4. Ask groups to present their findings to the classroom and to conclude with how they conceive their Mind Map to support the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Activity 2

Dr. Julien speaks about social pediatrics within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

  1. Introduce students to the UNCRC and ask them to review all the articles from 1 to 42 and apply them to the five elements that represent Dr. Julien’s holistic approach to social pediatrics:
    1. The physical element
    2. The emotional element
    3. The family element
    4. The friends element
    5. The community element
    Depending on the age of your students, ask them to use one of the following UNCRC versions for this activity:
    Simplest version (PDF, 154 KB)
    Full version
  2. Engage students in a classroom discussion on the application of the 42 articles in part I of the UNCRC to the five elements listed above.

Activity 3

  1. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s poverty initiative encourages classrooms across the country to find the following statistics and upload these to an interactive map on Imagineaction.
    1. What is the population of your community?
    2. How many people in your community are living in poverty?
    3. How many children in your community are living in poverty?
    4. How many food banks are there in your community?
    5. What is the unemployment rate in your community?
  2. Ask students to look at their own community statistics (see a. above) and to upload them to the IMap. Please note that statistics may vary depending on the research undertaken. The importance is the research and critical thinking piece of the activity.
  3. Ask students to find up to three community organizations that support the health and well-being of children.
  4. Ask students to present their findings to the classroom and to include the following information:
    1. What statistics did they find on their community?
    2. What elements of the holistic approach of social pediatrics are being addressed through community organizations?
    3. What articles of the UNCRC are being addressed through community organizations?

Activity 4

Advances in Human Rights – Moments in Time

Linking to the Moments in Time section of this resource, under the theme of this lesson plan Children’s Health and Wellness:

  1. Ask students to research one of these moments advancing Children’s Health and Wellness.
  2. Ask students to write a short opinion piece that includes the following in their reflection:
    1. Media and other events surrounding that particular period and issue (e.g. In the 1960s, thousands of Aboriginal children were taken from their families by the Canadian government and adopted out – a practice known as the Sixties Scoop.)
    2. How does this Moment in Time relate to the issue of Children’s Health and Wellness?
    3. Was this particular human rights moment in time perceived as an advancement or a setback at the time, when you view it from the lens of Children’s Health and Wellness? Please explain.
    4. Today, would that same moment be perceived as an advancement or a setback? Please explain.

Culminating Activity – From Reflection to Action

  1. Ask students to develop a means of communicating the importance of social pediatrics and the Convention on the Rights of the Child for the health and wellbeing of every child in Canada.
  2. Students may use any artistic medium to enhance the message.
    1. A school mural
    2. A play
    3. A song or a video
    4. A collection of reflections, poems, stories

Extension Activity

  1. Referring back to Activity 3, where students were researching their own community, ask them to:
    1. Write a letter to their local politician to request a meeting with them to inform politicians of their findings.
    2. Contact the town’s council and request to be placed on the next meeting’s agenda to address the issue of poverty and community organizations that support children’s health and wellness.
    3. Write a letter to the local newspaper about their findings and encourage people to be more supportive of children’s needs.
    4. Commit to volunteering in one of the community organizations researched.