What is National Child Day?
It is the celebration of the signing of the UN Declaration For The Rights of Children.
A section of our grade 1 social studies curriculum requires us to teach children about the basic terms: rights and responsibilities. I decided to use the platform of National Child Day to explore these terms in greater depth.
As I began to explore this concept I asked myself a few important questions:
- What does having rights mean to a child?
- What responsibilities accompany those rights?
- How do I teach a five year old such an abstract concept as rights and responsibilities.
Reviewing The Convention
We started by reviewing the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child: In Child Friendly Language (PDF). The convention is quite large and a lot for a young child to process so we decided to focus on one article of the convention.
Selecting A Theme
The Alberta School Council’s 2013 theme for National Child Day is “It’s our right… to be heard”.
This theme stems from article 12 of the convention:
“You have the right to give your opinion and for adults to listen and take it seriously.”
We chose to celebrate this theme as well.
What Does It Mean?
First, we discussed Article 12 and what it means for children like my daughter.
She said it meant: “What I say should be important to adults.”
I then asked her what her responsibility would be with this “right to be heard”.
She described her responsibility as: “I should also listen to others.”
We also explored the responsibility of making sure that what she says isn’t hurtful to others. With a right to be heard, we have a responsibility to ensure we don’t say things that offend or harm other people’s rights.
Books To Explore
There are a variety of children’s picture books available to explore National Child Day. Two of our favourites included:
A comprehensive list of children’s books about children’s rights and social justice can be found HERE (PDF).
- We used the Unicef Rights, Wants, and Needs cards (PDF) to discuss and classify what is a right/need and what is a want.
- To keep with the theme of “The Right to be Heard”, my daughter prepared a presentation on her favourite topic; Zums (a creature from the Webkinz games). She will be making her presentation to us this coming week.
- Wear a royal blue ribbon to commemorate the day.
- I made cards for my girls which I will be giving them on National Child Day. I have included a PDF version of the card I made for my girls HERE.
The Canadian Child Care Federation has a lovely one page handout on ways in which you can celebrate National Child Day with the children in your life. The handout can be found HERE (PDF).
National Child Day is a time to celebrate the children in our lives. They bring purity, joy, love, and laughter into our lives. However, they aren’t just children but they are also important citizens with a valid voice. They hold the future of our world in their hands.