November 20 is a day recognized in Canada as National Child Day and around the world as World Children’s Day. It marks the date in 1989 when children’s human rights were recognized with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
About the convention in Canada
National Child Day has been celebrated across Canada since 1993 to commemorate the United Nations’ adoption of two documents centered on children’s rights: the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989.
Canada ratified the Convention on 13 December 1991. Since then, a number of laws, policies and practices affecting children have advanced children’s rights to protection, development and participation in decisions affecting their lives. In fact, the Convention has inspired a process of social change in all regions of the world, by reframing children’s basic needs as rights that must be protected and provided for rather than as optional, charitable acts.
The Convention makes clear the idea that a basic quality of life should be the right of all children, rather than a privilege enjoyed by a few. Because Canada’s governments, schools and other institutions have progressively changed a number of laws, policies and practices to uphold children’s rights, children are protected in law from military deployment to armed conflicts, children who are in government care have advocates to help when there is no other adult that can, and more students are engaged and succeeding in schools where their views are sought and respected.
It’s a day to remember that children need love and respect to grow to their full potential. It’s a day to marvel at their uniqueness and all they have to offer. It’s a day to celebrate the family and think about how adults affect the development of children close to them.
To increase awareness about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Canadian Child Care Federation selects a right to shine a light on for National Child Day. This year we’ve selected:
While we are not all members of a minority group, the opportunity to learn from others is available to us. Early learning environments provide many opportunities to share and learn about culture and language.
Below are some credible online resources about fostering opportunities to share and learn about the culture, language and religion of others.
Article 30 Resources
The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed resources for early childhood educators focused on encouraging respect for cultural diversity in early childhood settings. Here are some links for some lesson plans you can use in your early learning environments.
All My Friends and Me
For the PDF of the activity please click here
This activity gives children the chance to explore their differences and similarities in a small group environment. They will explore how being different to other people does not mean that you cannot be friends, instead it gives you the chance to learn new things.
The World of Flavours
This is a recipe sheet template you can use to ask families to share on their favourite recipes from home. The recipes can then be collated into a book with illustrations from the children.
Additional National Child Day Resources
Below is a list of other national organizations who celebrate National Child Day and links to their resources that highlight the day.
A Go Blue Toolkit provides fun ideas and activities for everyone to get involved.
Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children
Resources to help better understand the Convention.
Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights
The Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights is Canada’s premier children’s rights centre. The Centre houses Canada’s largest catalogued collection of children’s rights materials including Landon Pearson’s personal library comprising over 14,000 documents, books, reports and archival materials related to her long history as a child rights advocate. These materials are available to all who are interested.
Below is the link for a colouring contest for children under 12.
National Child Day Activity Kit- Government of Canada
The Federal government provides a web page with National Child Day resources including an activity kit.
CCCF is proud to promote and support a world fit for children. Since 1999, we have been promoting children’s rights and working in partnerships with leading children’s rights organizations and individuals including the Landon Pearson Centre for Childhood and Children’s Rights, the Canadian Coalition on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF Canada, to develop resources for practitioners and parents. Follow this link to view our Children’s Rights page.
You can also celebrate National Child Day by creating conversations that raise awareness for children’s rights. Here are a few simple ways you can spread the word: