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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Voices of Children

See viewing times and locations around the world for The Voices of Children documentary

An international team of World Forum Foundation educators and filmmakers journeyed the globe, sparking conversations. Then they stepped back and let the children speak for themselves… This short video gives an overview of the project while it was being created. (4:10)

An update from the Voices of Children documentary team from January 2017

A generous anonymous donor has pledged to give up to $5,000 in matching funds to raise much needed support for our Voices of Children documentary. The Voices of Children documentary is an in-depth exploration of how to engage with children in a true give-and-take dialog about how they experience their rights to participation, provision and […]

girl gesturing emphatically

Video: Mallya Aditi International School – Bangalore (0:59) “I don’t want the factories…We can do with natural things!” Children from the Mallya Aditi International School talk with Voices of Children team in early 2016 about what they don’t like in their city and in the world.

children from singapore

Video: Child at Street Eleven – Singapore (0:43) “Roll on the grass and get dizzy!” “Laugh!” View a clip of the wisdom shared by children with the Voices of Children team when they spent time at Child at Street 11, Singapore, in early 2016.

filming a conversation with children

March 2016 – The Voices of Children Journey Continues in India and Singapore This past month the Voices of Children (VoC) project continued the journey to better understand young children’s perspectives on rights by travelling to sites in Mumbai, Bangalore and Singapore. Our team of two videographers and three educators from Brazil, USA, and Singapore […]

Adult and child filming together outdoors

Oct 2015 – In the past seven months we have learned the importance of patience, perseverance, and creativity as our video documentary project continues to move forward. We were reminded of the realities of global collaboration when we initiated our mentoring work with our many contributors using online platforms from Adobe Connect©, to Skype©, to […]