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Rights Respecting Schools

UNICEF Canada, schools and communities are working to transform whole school learning environments with a consistent, rights-respecting approach. UNICEF Canada’s Rights Respecting Schools initiative uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a basis for building an inclusive and respectful school culture which promotes increased student participation and active citizenship.

As a framework for educational improvement, the initiative transforms the whole school with a consistent, rights-based approach, reinforcing provincial and territorial efforts to create a learning environment in which both children and adults feel respected and act responsibly.

There are many proven benefits to this approach*, including:

  • A decline in bullying and absenteeism
  • Improved engagement in learning
  • Positive attitudes towards diversity in society and the reduction of prejudice
  • Improved relationships and behaviour
  • Children and young people’s support for global justice.

*These benefits were found as a result of research conducted by Katherine Covell and Brian Howe, researchers at the Children’s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University, and an evaluation of UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting School Award initiative.

Visit our Rights Respecting Schools Web Site

The Rights Respecting Schools initiative was developed by UNICEF Canada for Canadian schools and is implemented by a network of local and national organizations, known as the Friends of Rights Respecting Schools.

For more information about the Rights Respecting Schools initiative, visit

This site is for teachers and other education leaders who are interested in fostering inclusive, participatory and respectful school cultures.

What People are Saying...

"When children know their rights it empowers them to make a difference in their community. They become leaders. They end up becoming more responsible for their actions for leadership, friendship, and in relationships. They're not so much me-centered. It all comes from kids knowing they have rights."
Denise Gibson Grade 5 teacher, Cape Horn School

"We know how to respect each other…we actually know why and how we are respecting that person, we are listening to what they are telling us, we are being kind to everyone. It's pretty awesome."
Allie, Grade 5 student Cape Horn

"You definitely know when you walk through the halls [of Cape Horn Elementary] the values of the school and how the UNCRC is integrated into everything. Rights and responsibilities are touching each part of the curriculum and the learning process."
Miriam Miller, consultant ConnectEd: Global Learning Solutions