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Merging the local and the global: a thematic analysis of rights-based picture books to facilitate a critical understanding of diverse childhood contexts in Ontario elementary school settings

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posted on 22.05.2021, 11:02 by Nabeela Karim Kassam
This study examines the importance of explicitly introducing children's rights in elementary educational classrooms in Ontario through the medium of rights-based picture books. Children's rights as framed within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has been largely criticized for promoting a Western model of childhood, characteristic of innocence, play, and adult protection. Specifically, the UNCRC is often problematized for not capturing the diversity of childhoods that exist around the globe, as the articles in the Convention may not holistically examine the historical, cultural, and economic variables that children encompass. It is argued in this major research paper (MRP) that despite the limitations of the UNCRC, there is still a need to move beyond the universalism-cultural relativism dichotomy that currently frames this debate surrounding children's rights. Through a thematic analysis of selected rights-based picture books presented in the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario‟s (ETFO) (2011) Social Justice Begins with Me resource kit, this MRP will explore how picture books related to the UNCRC can be a tool in classrooms to destabilize assumptions present between and within Majority and Minority World contexts and encourage pluralistic worldviews where diverse childhoods are actively accepted rather than stereotypically rejected.





Master of Arts


Early Childhood Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type