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Global Classroom - Right to play

Every child has the right to play and rest (Article 31)

Did you know that if you are under 18, you have the right to leisure time in which to play and/or to rest? Your right to play and rest helps you to develop to your fullest potential.

Ten-year-old Lu Thi Dung, a fourth-grade student from an indigenous community in Vietnam, plays on a swing at Ban Pho Primary School.

This UNICEF-supported school allows children to learn and play in a safe, child-friendly environment while also providing bilingual education to ethnic minority children – in Vietnamese and their indigenous language. Although 95 per cent of all eligible children attend primary school in Vietnam, an estimated 20 per cent of the children of the 11 million members of ethnic minorities do not have access to basic education. Adolescent girls are especially at risk of being denied their rights to play and education because of poverty, cultural biases against gender equity in education and the lack of properly equipped child-friendly schools. In Vietnam, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to provide bilingual education to ethnic minority children.

What can I do?

As a student, I can:

  • Volunteer at a summer camp for children and develop activities with the campers to promote their right to play and to leisure.
  • Take action by surveying adults who are responsible for safe play in the lives of children (e.g. how do they incorporate play and recreation as well safety into their plans?) These adults could include government workers in sports and recreation, architects, landscape and interior designers, planners, health professionals, teachers, and coaches.

As a teacher, I can:

As a parent, I can:

  • Talk with my children about the importance of the right to rest and to leisure. Try using a UNICEF Canada activity to play and learn with my children. [Go to Multimedia Page]
  • Create games that incorporate the values I want to teach my children (e.g. patience, respect, sharing and team work) or create a special place in my home where children will be able to engage in unstructured playtime and rest peacefully.
  • During the holidays, suggest to my children a special day in which screen time is replaced by other activities such as board games, sports, reading, music, and resting.
  • Explore sport/activity-related policies in place to protect my children at school and in my community. (Statistics Canada reported 242,000 sports related injuries in one year. Children are sometimes placed in situations where the risk of injury is unreasonable and likely; penalties and rules that would curb risky behaviour are often not enforced.)

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