The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of the Child on the 20th of November 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the same date in 1989.
Therefore, World Children’s Day is celebrated every year on the 20th of November, and this entire week is dedicated to children. The theme this year is "For every child, every right".
For every child, peace. Every child, everywhere, has a right to live in a peaceful world.
For every child, a livable planet. Children have a right to a safe and livable planet.
For every child, a voice. Children must be listened to and included in all decisions that affect them.
Read more about the World Children's Day from here.
Children have the right to:
- Personal views. Children have the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them. Adults should listen and take children seriously.
- Own thoughts and share them freely. Children have the right to share freely with others what they learn, think, and feel, by talking, drawing, writing, or in any other way unless it harms other people.
- Access to information. Children have the right to get information from the Internet, radio, television, newspapers, books, and other sources. Adults should make sure the information they are getting is not harmful.
- A full life with disabilities. Every child with a disability should enjoy the best possible life in society.
- Food, clothing, and a safe home. Children have the right to food, clothing, and a safe place to live so they can develop in the best possible way. The government should help families and children who cannot afford this.
- Proper education. Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents, and abilities. It should teach them to understand their own rights and to respect other people’s rights, cultures, and differences. It should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment.
- Rest, play, culture, arts. Every child has the right to rest, relax, play, and take part in cultural and creative activities.
See the full list of the Rights of the Child from here.
How to celebrate World Children's Day in early education?
Parents, grandparents, teachers... as well as children themselves, can play an important part in making World Children's Day relevant and acknowledged.
UNICEF has made a video for children that explains some of the rights in a simple way. Watch the video "We all have rights" from here.
World Children's Day gives everyone an opportunity to promote and celebrate children's rights, which will hopefully lead to building a better, more equal world for all children around the world.
In early childhood education, you can...
- Discuss some of the important rights with children and ask children's opinions and thoughts
- Hold a children's meeting and let children make some important decisions about a given topic. (For example: what toys to buy from the next budget, what kind of crafts to make, how to also include parents etc, what would be the dream day of children, how to celebrate birthdays at at the daycare...)
- Look for information together about topics and themes that interest children
- Spend a day that gives every child the possibility to play, relax, eat - repeat!
- Let children choose what to do!
Children's Rights Week around the world
Children’s Rights Week is held annually in connection with World Children’s Day, which aims to increase awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and promote the realization of children’s rights worldwide.
Below are some links for free material for Children's Rights Week from Finland:
- Free coloring pictures to use for example in a puppet theater!
- Free coloring picture of Tiuku - her message is that everyone is valuable exatcly as they are!
- Printable Tiuku paper doll
And as this theme is hugely important, why end celebrating Children's Rights Day or Week so soon? Expand, process, and puff up the idea and dedicate the whole month to children and their ideas, thoughts, and rights! The little ones deserve it.