Voices of Children Documentary Project

Voices of Children

Creating a documentary of children voicing their rights through both verbal and non-verbal expression

An international group of educators, social scientists, filmmakers, and advocates journeyed around the globe to create a documentary film called “The Voices of Children.” The 24-minute film, a collaborative effort over five years, documents the words and actions of young children in eight sites in Brazil, India, Kenya, Singapore, and the United States. The documentary expands on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by advocating for a more inclusive view of children’s rights from the perspective of the children themselves.

This project became much more than the creation of a powerful documentary. As the team traveled to locations around the world, working together and working with various groups of teachers, a profound understanding of how to listen to and honor children’s thoughts, ideas, and participatory rights emerged.

Following a successful May 2017 premiere at the World Forum on Care and Education conference in New Zealand, the Working Group on Children’s Rights has facilitated screenings of the film for hundreds of educators and policy makers in Brazil, Singapore, and throughout the United States. Most recently, the film screened at a national conference on play and education, at the School of Education, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, and at the Preschool for All event at Portland State University, United States, for over 200 early childhood makers and shakers. Future screenings in several continents are in the planning stages. Through these screenings, the documentary team have developed accompanying materials and dialogue starters, and collected audience responses.

The goal is to be ready for a public release of the film in the summer of 2018 with free download and streaming. The film has proved accessible to policy makers, families, educators, higher education students, and of course, children – as both a provocation for discussion about rights and our image of the child, and as an effective advocacy tool. The team has a co-authored chapter appearing in a book on collaborative cross-cultural research to be published soon and further writing in the works.

Looking to the future, the team is working on two related projects. First, a beautiful photo essay book that would capture the essence of this research and advocacy journey, drawing on thousands of images, drawings, and collected dialogue. Second, a “making of” video that would document the teacher workshops, daily listening sessions, and virtual dialogues with teachers and families during the filming process as they considered a more inclusive view of children’s participatory rights. These projects need additional funding in order to move ahead.
Please contact us if you are interested in a facilitated screening in your area. The 4-minute promotional video provides a visual introduction to the film.

Voices of Children is a special project envisioned, organized and implemented by the World Forum Working Group on Children’s Rights in collaboration with Avante Educação e Mobilização Social and Boulder Journey School. We currently have a matching challenge which will double your donation! If you would like to support this project, visit our donate page and scroll down to the Voices of Children project.

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