I. Alberta Curriculum

The Learn Alberta, Programs of Study, Social Studies K-Grade 12 provides the following overview, rationale and terms and concepts for the Grade 1 curriculum:[1]

Citizenship: Belonging & Connecting  

Through inquiry into their social, physical, cultural and linguistic environments, Grade 1 students will see themselves as part of the larger world. They will have opportunities to share their personal stories and explore traditions and symbols that are reflected in their groups or communities. They will enhance their understanding of the diverse needs of others and how they can contribute as individuals to the well-being of the groups to which they belong. Students will explore roles and responsibilities they have as citizens in schools, groups and their own communities. They will be encouraged to care for the natural environment and to show concern for other people in their relationships, groups and communities.”

Grade 1 students will be given opportunities to further develop self-esteem by examining their own identity in relationship to groups and communities. Learning about the well-being, growth and vitality of the diverse groups to which they belong will help to build the foundations of active and responsible citizenship.

Terms and Concepts: characteristics, community, cooperation, decision making, family, interests, responsibility, role, traditions, vitality

General Outcome 1.1 My World: Home, School, and Community
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how identity and self-esteem are enhanced by their sense of belonging in their world and how active members in a community contribute to the well-being, growth and vitality of their groups and communities.

General Outcome 1.2 Moving Forward with the Past: My Family, My History and My Community
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how changes over time have affected their families and influenced how their families and communities are today.

II. Application of Rights in Play Guide Topics to Grade 1 Curriculum

The following Rights in Play Guide topics are recommended for the Grade 1 curriculum: Your Rights, Celebrating Diversity, and Games from Around the World.

In looking at their responsibilities as individuals, the Your Rights topic provides students with the opportunity to examine their rights and responsibilities as humans. Learning about the human rights of children and others provides students with the opportunity to understand their rights and encourages them to take steps towards learning about how they can help others receive the same rights and freedoms.

In Grade 1, where students examine community and family, an understanding of diversity is an important element. The Celebrating Diversity topic helps students to appreciate the qualities that make them unique and special individuals, while also appreciating the qualities that connect them with those around them and with people around the globe.

Through playing games from the Games from Around the World section, students will be able to appreciate and better understand diversity and how different children may play. This will help students gain a better understanding of differences in culture, identity and community.

III. Grade 1 Example Sessions


Game Name: Rights Flag Tag[2]

Session Length:  30 minutes

Curriculum Ties:  1.1 – My world: home, school and community.

Purpose: In this game, participants become aware of their rights and must determine which rights are the most valuable to them. This activity aims to help children develop cooperative skills.

Resources: Poster board with five key human rights listed on it, enough flags ribbons/kerchiefs/strips of material for each participant to have five different colours (one for each right).

Educator’s Background Information:  Before the session, review the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws in Appendix D.


  • Separate participants into two groups (or three to four groups if you are dealing with more than twenty participants). Have all the members of the first team come up one at a time and select the three rights that they feel are the most important to them. The second team will then do the same thing and so on. You will be the ‘Rights Thief’.

  • Use a soccer or other playing field and have all the children from all the teams at one end of the field. They should have their ‘flags’ hanging from their waist. They can place the ‘flags’ on whatever side they want in an attempt to keep their most valuable right.

  • When you yell “Go”, the participants must get to the other side of the field with as many of their rights intact as possible. They must cross the field again 2-5 times. Determine how many times they cross based on how many children you have and your ‘luck’ at catching some of their flags.

  • Once they have finished, participants get back into their groups to see how many rights they managed to keep. The team with the most rights wins. 

Alternate Procedure: The participants try to collect flags from one another while crossing the field. This variation makes it clear just how easily any one of us can violate another person’s human rights. Participants can then be asked about how they felt when they took someone else’s rights or when they had their rights taken by their peers.

Debrief with Students: For the debrief portion of the session, do the follow-up activity called G.R.O.W. (Getting Rights ‘Ollover’ the World).

Game Name: G.R.O.W.[3]

Session Length:  30 minutes

Curriculum Ties:  1.1 – My world: home, school and community.

Purpose: Children imagine what their world would be like without certain rights. It is hoped that this activity will cultivate compassion and empathy for those without rights.

Resources: None required.


  • Keep children in the same teams they had in Rights Flag Tag. Tell them that you are going to play a quick imagination game.

  • Stage 1 (Cultivating empathy, compassion, and a feeling of empowerment)

    • Place the two teams side by side, each in their own circles. Go to each team and remind them which rights they kept and which rights they lost.

    • Have them try to imagine what it would be like to live in a society without those rights. Give them about a minute or two to imagine this. Help them to imagine by asking questions. How would the world be different without the right to play? Why do you think children might not be able to play?

    • Remind the children that not everyone in their circle society has the same rights (perhaps most of their teammates lost a particular right and only some of them kept it). Imagine if only half the people in your group had the right to play. Imagine if you were one of those who did not have the right to play. Imagine how you would feel watching other children playing.

    • Now imagine instead that you have the ‘right to play’ but your best friends do not. How do you feel now?

    • Finally, imagine that you convince the people in power in your community to give everyone in your circle the ‘right to play’. Now picture your friends’ faces as they receive their right. How do you feel knowing that you helped them get their ‘right to play’? 

  • Stage 2 (Overcoming unreasonable fears and feeling safe around newcomers and in a diverse society)

    • Connect all the circles. Tell the children to keep their eyes shut. As you connect them, tell the children that, at first, they all feel in danger of someone new entering their circle and taking their rights away. Now tell them to take a deep breath in and to feel themselves relax.

    • Imagine that you just realized that the new people in your circle are NOT going to take away your rights. Now imagine that you feel happier as you find out that because they have joined, you now have some new rights. You now have the right to feel safe and to not be hurt by anyone no matter your gender, no matter what colour you are, and no matter where you came from. Imagine you feel happy because they helped you get that right.

    • Now imagine yourself smiling at one of the newcomers and imagine them smiling back at you. Imagine yourself being friends with that person and imagine yourself feeling protective of your new friend and caring enough about them to make sure that no one takes away their rights. Open your eyes.


Game Name:  Zombies[4]

Length: 30 Minutes

Curriculum Ties: 1.1 – My world: home, school and community

Purpose: This game shows participants that diversity is valuable.

Resources: None.

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, review the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights in Appendix D and on diversity in Appendix E.


  • Explain to the group that they will all become zombies in a few minutes. As zombies they must all do the same things, though not necessarily at the same time.

  • Have the group decide what three things a zombie can do. If the group is having trouble coming up with three things, suggest walking around stiff legged, holding your arms straight out in front of you, dragging one leg behind you, groaning, etc. Be sure that whatever they choose are zombie-type actions (lethargic, dreary). No skipping and jumping.

  • Designate a certain area the “zombie zone”. All zombies must remain in this area. You are the zombie patrol. If you catch someone who is not doing one or a combination of the three zombie actions, pull them out of the game for 10 seconds.

  • Continue the game until participants begin to appear tired of doing the same things over and over again.

Debrief with Students:

  • How does it feel to be able to do only three things/always having to do the same things?

  • Were you bored from always doing the same thing? What might the world lose if everyone was the same?

  • How does diversity make life more interesting? What kinds of differences exist amongst the people of the world? How do these differences add variety to life?

  • Which human rights protect diversity and differences?


Game Name: The Mitten Game (Northern Canada)[5]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 1.1 – My world: home, school and community

Purpose: This game allows participants to explore similarities amongst children in the world and to develop a sense of global understanding and trust.

Resources:  Map of Canada.

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, review the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws in Appendix D and on Games from Around the World in Appendix F.


  • Introduce the game and the region it is from. The Dené people live in the northern boreal and Arctic regions of Canada. Point the region out on the map.

  • Have the players sit on the floor in a tight circle with their legs in front of them and their knees bent. Each player’s legs should touch the legs of the players on both sides.

  • One player is chosen to be ‘it’ and stands in the centre of the circle.

  • The players pass the mitten around the circle between their legs and the person who is ‘it’ tries to guess who has it. The players in the circle can sway back and forth while they pass the mitten.

  • Once the person who is ‘it’ guesses correctly, they trade with the player sitting down who was caught.

Debrief with Students:

  • Ask the participants if they know children from other parts of the world. Find out if they have ever visited other countries and if so, did they meet any children there?

  • Children all over the world play games. This is a similarity that connects them. What are some other similarities that might connect participants with children all over the world? Make a list of aspects of culture that are present everywhere.

  • What is the same and what is different about the game(s) just played and games they usually play?

  • All children have the right to play. This right is written down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Why do you think play is especially mentioned in this document? Why is play important for children?

  • Would it be possible for you to teach children from another country your games, even if they didn’t speak your language? How?