Equality - Session 3

Roots: Parents, communities, and governments that work for and support human rights for children practice applying human rights in their daily lives to the children in their care and work to have equal rights honored for all children, without exception (CRC Articles 2 and 30).

Rights: Children have the right to -

  • equality, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, opinion, nationality or ethnic heritage;
  • learn about and express/celebrate their culture and/or ethnic heritage.

    Responsibilities: Children are responsible for -

  • treating others as they would like to be treated;
  • honoring agreements.

  • Session Outcomes

    Children -

    * experience concepts of "same" and "different," "equal" and "unequal";
    * increase their understanding of the importance of individual efforts when working toward a common goal.

    Parents -

    * explore their understandings of equality through activity and discussion;
    * discuss definitions of equality;
    * learn more about embracing the differences in their family, our society, and the world.

    Materials needed:

    Interactive Activities

    * Different colors of beans with scoops and cups;
    * Balance scale, items (counting bears, plastic or wooden objects) to weigh on the scale;
    * Paint, paint trays or pie tins, paper to paint on;
    * sponge stamps cut into shapes (circle, triangle, squares or figures of children);
    * A slim, rectangular sponge that can be used as a stamp (two marks from this sponge, placed horizontally, one above the other, make an equal sign, or two horizontal marks and one slanted over the top makes an unequal sign);
    * Grocery bags, scissors, yarn, markers, collage materials.

    Children's Learning Circle

    * A few oranges.

    Parent Education

    * Parent Education Handout PE #3;
    * Chart paper and markers;
    * Paper grocery bag with cutout spaces for eyes (or a paper plate attached to a tongue depressor with spaces cut out for eyes).


    Greet as usual. Make sure everyone gets a name tag.

    Parent/Child Interactive Activities


    Masks are a way for children to try on different roles. Children learn to take the perspective of others through imaginary play.

  • Display photos or examples of masks from around the world.
  • Parents and children design masks to wear with materials presented (brown paper grocery bags, scissors, yarn, markers, glue, and collage materials).


    Varied colors of different beans symbolize individual differences - such as in the varied colors of people's skin. NOTE: If you feel uncomfortable about using food for play, omit this activity or use colored rocks.

  • Scoops, spoons, and cups are available for sensory play with beans.


    A scale gives children practice with the concept of what it is to be equal. The work and care of balancing the scale symbolizes the work we need to do and care we need to take in realizing equality and fairness in our lives.

  • Place balance scale and items on a table. Ask families to compare items.


    Gives children & parents a way to internalize the concept of equality.

  • Set out attribute blocks for parents and children to use for matching shapes and colors.


    Gives children & parents a way to internalize the concept of equality.

  • Families fold a 9x11 piece of construction paper in half, down the middle. Then open it back up and write their child's name in glue just above the fold line. They fold again and press paper to apply glue to both sides of page. Next they open the page again and sprinkle glitter over the page to make a mirror image of the child's name. Cue cards encourage families to talk about how both sides are equal (symmetrical or matching).
  • All The Colors We Are, by Katie Kissinger


    Reading together promotes reading readiness, literacy, and enjoyment of books along with the concepts of beginning, middle, and end. When parents read to their children, both gain the power to learn more about themselves and the world.

  • Parents and children choose a book to read together.
  • We are Alike, We Are Different, by the Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners
  • Different and Alike, by Nancy P. McConnell
  • My Family, Your Family, by Kindergarten of Westfield School
  • Black, White, Just Right, by Marguerite W. Davol
  • All The Colors We Are, by Katie Kissinger
  • Community Circle

    1. Transition: Early childhood teacher speaks to each child, and/or touches them on the shoulder and reminds them that circle time will begin soon. After connecting with each child, the teacher begins a gathering song.

    2. "I'm happy to see all of you!" Sing: "Shake Hands With Friends and Say Hello," and "Looking Under The Mask" (below) using your hands as the mask. Looking under my mask, who do I see? I see _________ looking at me. Hello _________!

    3. "As you know, during this class we are learning about rights and responsibilities. Who remembers a right we put on our Human Rights Agreement last week?" (Take a few responses.) "Another right is the right to equality. Equality is what we have when all people, no matter how they look or who they are, are treated the same. Equality is what we have when we all get the same number of cookies at snack time. Equality is what we have when we treat others like we want to be treated. We are practicing equality if when everyone gets an equal turn in a game."

    4. Punchinello game*:

    "We are going to play a turn-taking game, now. This game is called Punchinello. We cannot play the game unless everyone helps. We all will need to listen and help each other, in order to play this game successfully. Some friends will need to wait patiently for their turn. This is a game about equality. We can all have an equal turn. It also is about equality, because we do equal things.

    "Remember earlier when you took a piece of paper and drew your name with glue on it? After you folded it and used the glitter on the paper you had two names. You had your name and an equal name that was different. That was a mirror image. In this game we get to make our bodies the mirror images!"

    Form a circle while standing. One child enters and stands in the center of hte circle. Everyone sings or chants: "What can you do, Punchinello, friendly fellow? What can you do, Punchinellow, friendly you?" Action 1: Punchinello makes a motion as this verse is sung. Everyone "mirrors" the action as they sing. Sing about whatever action the child is doing, for example, "turn around":

    All sing: "We can turn around, Punchinello, friendly fellow. We can turn around, Punchinello, do it too. We can do it too, Punchinello, friendly fellow, We can do it too, Punchinello, friendly you.

    he music for this game can be found in Wee Sing and Play Musical Games and Rhumes for Children by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp, Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers, Inc. Los Angeles, 1981, page 18.

    Action 2: Punchinello chooses another child to take his or her place in the center of circle as everyone sings: You choose one of us, Punchinello, friendly fellow. You choose one of us, Punchinello, friendly you." Repeat with another child, until all the children who want a turn have one.

    5. Close with "The More We Get Together" and "This Little Light of Mine."

    NOTE: One adult may have to help a child begin this game. As children get comfortable, they will not be shy.


    Children's Learning Circle - Session 3

    1. Invite children to the circle with a gathering song.

    2. Bring one or two oranges with you, depending on the number of children. Say, "I have something for us all. It's to share equally. Here it is." Show the children the orange/oranges. "How can we share this orange so each of us gets an equal portion?" Allow time for children to think and to answer. Their responses might be to cut it, peel and section it or get more oranges, and so on. After they've had a chance to answer, peel the orange. Divide it into sections. As a group, count how many people are in the circle. Be sure to include yourself. Now count the orange sections. Write the numbers on chart paper.

    3. Ask the children: "Do the numbers match? How can we divide the sections so everyone gets an equal share?" You may have to cut some sections in half. Ask one or two children to help pass out the orange sections, perhaps on napkins. Ask the children not to eat them yet.

    4. "Do you have the same amount as your friends? Are all the portions equal? What are

    some reasons to have equal portions? If you had less than someone else, how might you feel? If you had more than others, how might you feel?"

    5. Eat the oranges together.

    6. Sing favorite songs the children name. Include: "This Little Light of Mine," "The More We Get Together," "Looking Under the Mask."

    Parent Education - Session 3

    Preparation: Write the topic title, "Equality and Differences" on chart paper. Under the topic title write, "Children/adults have a right to equality regardless of race, color, sex, religion, nationality or social origin."

    1. Greeting - Surprise Entry: Today there is no official greeting. As soon as parents have taken their seats, teacher enters the room with a paper bag mask over his or her head.

    2. Discussion: "Here I am with this bag on my head. Yes, I know our world is not made up of bag-headed people, but for a minute let us wonder. What would it be like if we all were put on this planet looking externally identical, such as we might if we all had brown grocery bags for heads - same tan color, same square shape, same size, and so on? Underneath our bags we would each know that every person was different, but how would we find out? How would the world be different? How would we raise our children differently? . . . Obviously our world reality is not "paper bag heads." In fact, we do see and interact with differences at all times in life."

    Give parents a few moments to reflect on the following questions and make notes in their journals or on stationary you provide. These questions can also be asked orally and written on chart paper or chalk board.

    3. Questions:

    a. Have you ever been in a situation with someone else:
    *during which you wished that you could cover yourself up or become invisible?
    *during which that person put you behind a symbolic mask/ paper bag instead of seeing the real you?
    *during which you found that person was not recognizing your child for being who she or he is?

    b. How did you feel?

    c. Why did you feel that way?

    d. How did you respond?

    e. How did you want to respond?

    4. Activity: Distribute Reflections on Equality (Handout PE #3) to participants. Look at these quotations on differences. Invite participants to jot their thoughts or reflections in their Action Step Journals.

    5. Discussion:

    a. Our families are filled with individual differences. What are some of the differences that people in my family have (behaviors that are different from mine) that drive me crazy?

    b. What are some possibilities in my own family to embrace, not just tolerate, these differences?

    c. What are some examples of what we can do and how we can speak to our children that gives them messages of celebrating and embracing, NOT just tolerating differences?

    d. There has been a lot of research done over the years that shows the effects of expectations and labeling on children. We usually get what we expect. Can you see ways that you inadvertently label your child in a negative way? How might it impact his or her life?

    6. Summary: "In our world there are many instances where people feel they are not accepted or embraced because they are different from those in the mainstream/in power/who represent the status quo. In fact, many historical travesties that have affected individuals and families throughout time have occurred because people were not able to live peacefully with differences." Ask for examples from participants. Here are a few possible responses:

    World: Holocaust during World War II, Vietnam War, Ireland's civil uprising, ethnic struggles in the Balkans.

    Community: Problems with acceptance of the gay/lesbian community, gang wars, availability of handicapped accessibility.

    Family: Put-downs among family members: only one right way to do things, escalation of differences ending in divorces or physical/emotional abuse among family members. "The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that being accepted for our differences is a basic human right. ďA right to equality regardless of race, color, creed, sex, religion, nationality, or social origin.' Our goal is for you, as parents, to know the right to equality is inalienable and we have a responsibility to ourselves and our children to create an environment in our homes, communities, and society that ensures that this right is respected."

    7. Closing and action steps assignment: "What are some possible action steps that you and your family can do to work toward a more equitable world for all? As you work in your journals this week, pay special attention to what you can do in your home. The home is the most difficult arena in which to accept differences because our children are so close to our heart and we want them to embrace our values. However, accepting them for who they are opens the door for them to accept others for who they are, and so on. Thus, one family, one child at a time, we begin to create a world that honors differences and celebrates equality."


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