Faculty Publications


Banners for Books: “Mighty-Hearted” Kindergartners Take Action through Arts-Based Service Learning

Document Type



Art, Care, Citizenship, Human rights, Kindergarten, Service learning

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Early Childhood Education Journal






Teaching about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, is one way to support students’ learning about issues of fairness. However, learning about this document is not enough. Students need to have experiences where they explore issues of justice and equity in order to learn about respect and dignity for others. The present study explored an arts-based project in a kindergarten classroom about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26—The Right to Education. Over the course of several months, nineteen kindergarten students learned about educational inequities around the world and specifically about an under-resourced partner school in El Salvador. Children’s literature about human rights became the catalyst for critical conversations, written responses, and drawings inspiring action. Students worked to address injustice by screen printing images they drew about their beliefs regarding a child’s right to education on fabric banners to raise awareness about school inequity. These banners were then displayed in their school and in the partner school. Overall findings from students’ discussions, writing, illustrations, and interviews indicated that the kindergartners were able to recognize their own rights and educational privilege. Through the project they demonstrated active citizenship centered on care and sought further connections with children at the partner school. In using arts-based service learning, educators involved in the study discovered how art can be used as a creative process and a teaching method to support young learners raising awareness about global inequities.

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa