CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies

Featured Agency

Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission

Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission

The Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission has a mandate which includes enforcing the Human Rights Act and educating the public. We have invested considerable resources in our education mandate over the past year and are pleased to report that we are now active in year 2 of Made in PEI: Rights Responsibilities, Relationships and Resources (The 4Rs). The 4Rs is the most expansive and comprehensive education project ever undertaken in Commission history and is funded in large part through generous support from the Law Foundation of PEI. The 4Rs is envisioned as a 3 year collaboration amongst the Commission, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), English Language School Board, PEI Teacher's Federation and UPEI Faculty of Education. Objectives of The 4Rs are to:

  1. 1. facilitate the delivery of human rights education in PEI classrooms through identifying, developing and implementing PD opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers; and
  2. 2. develop age appropriate and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD)-approved PEI human rights learning resources for students.

We recognise the need to make these resources accessible and interwoven with existing curriculum outcomes. The Commission is extremely pleased with the success of serving as a practicum placement site for UPEI BEd students during the Spring 2014, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. Pre-service teachers bring to The 4Rs their knowledge of grade-specific teaching methods and eager enthusiasm to explore in more depth how to create learning activities using specific curriculum outcomes that link to human rights education. Prior to their practicum at the Commission, pre-service teachers report little background or knowledge in the area of human rights.

After completing their practicum with us BEd students report having acquired new expertise that is transferrable to any educational setting. They also express a sense of confidence in tackling difficult issues with students, parents and colleagues. Finally and importantly, working with pre-service teachers builds a future of strong human rights education and implementation in the schools by nurturing human rights champions today. This is of particular significance because it will assist in sustaining outcomes of The 4Rs long after project completion.

Through these practicum placements and on-going collaboration amongst project partners, The 4Rs has produced:

  • DEECD-approved curriculum-based learning activities now being used in K-3 classrooms of the English Language School Board;
  • curriculum-based learning units in grades 4-6 now being reviewed by DEECD Curriculum Specialists; and
  • draft learning resources on residential schooling to coincide with the upcoming release of new curriculum for Grade 9 Social Studies.

All told, we anticipate 4Rs learning resources being available to English Language students from K-6 and in grade 9 by the start of the 2015-16 school year! We also anticipate beginning to work with French language curriculum specialists and the French Language School Board to adapt 4Rs resources for use in French schools and programs.

A second project-related highlight is our collaboration with Culture PEI, Arts Network for Children & Youth, local artists and others on ArtsSmarts 2015. We look forward to May 2015 when the various human rights-themed learning projects will be on public display at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Approved projects include an artistic exploration of PEI's increasingly diverse cultural make-up (Grade 3), responsible environmental stewardship (grade 6), multiple human rights documents (UDHR, Charter, Act) (Grade 9) and local, national and international human rights defenders (grade 10).

Finally, perhaps the greatest highlight of The 4Rs is our increasing confidence that the working relationships we have developed and continue to develop with key education sector stakeholders will prove sustainable beyond 4Rs project completion.

For more information about this work please contact our Education Project Officer, Tom Hilton at thilton@peihumanrights.ca.

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CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies