Hand-out 6A - Child-to-Child Activity Sheet - Learning for all Children



The Idea
Children with disabilities have been segregated in special schools or centres, based on the assumption that children with disabilities have special needs which cannot be addressed other than in these specialised places. However every child may experience difficulties in learning at some stage in their life, which means that every child has his/her own special needs. All children should be accepted as being special, without leaving any child out. However to be able to answer to the needs of all children, a more responsive and flexible education system is needed. Experience has shown that including children with disabilities is a very effective way of improving the educational system from which all children benefit. For children to be segregated from their peers has far reaching consequences for their participation in community life and their social development. Including children with disabilities in their neighbourhood school therefore very important. Additionally children need to develop in tolerant members of society by learning to accept each others differences. To have the opportunity to be with disabled children will promote this.

How Everyone Benefits
Flexible teaching methodologies will benefit all children as all of us learn in different ways and all of us may experience difficulties in our learning at some stage.

All children need friends, need to be part of their neighbourhoods and need to be confident and able to participate in community life. Not going to the local school will deprive children from this.

All children need to learn to accept others to become tolerant members of society. To be able to learn this, children need the opportunity to meet children who may be different, to become friends and share activities together.

How to Include Everybody
To include children who have traditionally been excluded, we need to prepare the learning place in order to welcome all children.

Physical barriers need to be overcome so that the place becomes accessible for all (both buildings and information). This may include: changing steps to ramps, widening doors, changing toilets and lowering shelves. Making visual information accessible by putting it on tape, using models or in braille. Making verbal information accessible by using signs and visual aids.

A flexible range of teaching methodologies promoting active learning allowing for individual differences need to be taken up and implemented by the teacher.

Attitudinal barriers need to be overcome. As children with disabilities have traditionally been excluded they are seen by oth ers as different. Children and adults have developed attitudes towards disability based on the assumption that children with disabilities are not able to play a part in any activity.

The below mentioned activities can be done in the learning place with a group of children. The activities cover issues of feelings of exclusion, inclusion, the importance of friends, how to include all children etc..

Activity 1
Divide the classroom in two areas by creating a barrier, like a row of tables or chairs. All children are on one side of the barrier while one child is told to stay on the other side. The group of children are asked to play a game while the one child is not able/allowed to join.

Observe the reactions of the children. After the game open a discussion with questions as:

The excluded child:
How did you feel? Did you want to be with the group? Why? Did you try to be with the group, either by asking or physically overcoming the barrier? Why? What did you expect the other children to do? How did you feel when they did/did not?

The group:
How did you feel when you realised that one of you could not join in the game? What did you do/wanted to do? Why? How do you think the one child felt? Why? How would you have felt if you were in her/his place?

*Care should be taken with the choice of the child to be excluded. Watch carefully the reactions of the child during the activity.

Activity 2.
The children are divided into small groups and asked to discuss their experiences of being excluded. The are asked to focus on; How did it feel? Did you like it? Why? What did you do about it? Did you become angry/sad/quiet? After the small group discussions the children could share their experiences with the whole group if they want.

*The facilitator could give a personal example to help the children or this activity could be a follow up of activity 1.

Activity 3.
This activity consists of a number of short stories. They can be used as role plays done by the children followed by a discussion with the whole group. They can also be used through story telling with a discussion afterwards. They can also be used as a basis for drawings followed by a presentation and discussion. The questions to stimulate discussion could be: How do you think X (name of person excluded/included) felt? How would you feel if it happened to you? What would you do? For the negative stories the children could be asked to perform/tell/draw a positive one.

Short Stories:
The following examples can be used but should be adapted when needed.

You are a new child in the class. This is your first day at school. Two children come up to you and say: 'My name is Heba and her name is May. What is your name?' Would you like to play with us?'.

You are a new child in the class. The teacher asks a question. You think you know the answer and raise your hand. The teacher asks you to give the answer. When you give the answer several children around you laugh and say: 'That is a stupid answer!'.

Two children are playing together. You walk up to them and ask to join them. They pretend they do not hear you, they ignore you and turn their backs on you.

You were not at school yesterday because you were not feeling well. When you arrived at school today a few children come up to you and say : 'Hey, where were you yesterday? we missed you!'.

Activity 4.
This activity focusses on the importance of the people around you. Give each child a piece of paper with a set of four circles. Ask the children to write in the most inner circle the most important people in their lives. In the next circle names of people they really like. In the next circle names of people they would like to do things with. And in the last circle names of people they name because they provide you with a service (Teacher, doctor, dentist etc..).

To make it less abstract for the children the four circles could be depicted as (See example):

Ask the children to discuss in small groups what they do with the people in the different circles.

As facilitator design a set of circles showing a few names in the most inner circle and the last circle. Discuss with the children how this person may feel like. Ask them if they could think of anybody who would fill in the circles like this. You may give the example of a child with a disability, who knows his/her immediate family and people like their physiotherapist, doctor etc..

Activity 5.
Show a picture or draw a picture on the blackboard of a group of children who are about to go on a trip. The picture shows a child using a wheelchair or walker, a child using a white cane etc.. Ask the children to finish the story of going on a trip either by writing, role play or serial pictures. They are asked to show how they can include all children in the activities of the trip.

This activity can be done as preparation of a real trip with the children. Ask them to think how they can organise it so that all children will enjoy the trip by participating in the activities.

Activity 6.
Divide the children in small groups. Ask each group to inspect an area of the school/neighbourhood. They have to identify which parts are not accessible for people who use a wheelchair, have difficulty walking, have difficulties seeing, have difficulties seeing etc.. If possible have children with disabilities leading the group. After identification ideas can be discussed how to make the identified areas accessible for all.

If children are welcomed, it is important that their inclusion is real and sustainable. It is important that at regular intervals activities take place in which all children have the chance to express if they feel included. The children can be helped to identify ways to include everybody.

Using this Sheet
To create a classroom for all, the teacher may need support. Parents, children, CBR workers and other volunteers can be identified to offer classroom support.

To create a classroom for all the teacher needs to adapt his/her teaching methodology. Active learning is important to give all children equal opportunities.

People with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities from the community can be of help by providing advice, support and being a positive role model for others. Contact the Disabled People's Union in the area for support and advice as well.

Activity 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 can be used as awareness raising activities for step 1. of the Ch ild-to-Child approach. Activity 6 goes a step further whereby the children explore aspects of their community. Other things the children could do for step 2. includes identifying children in their school/community who are excluded. They could identify who and why. For step 3. and 4. they can think of action to be taken on how to include these children.

The activities as described in this sheet are not restricted to inclusion of children with disabilities. In adapted form they can be used to focus on all children who are excluded, as children from broken homes, street children, etc. They could also focus on adults who are excluded, as elderly people, homeless people etc..

Developed by Maysa Y. Hawwash and Lucienne Maas.