News and Updates
November 2, 2017

Children’s Rights in the Classroom
Using National Child Day to help foster school connectedness

National Child Day, held on November 20th of every year, is a chance to learn about the rights of children and youth to have a voice and participate in the community.

National Child Day has been celebrated every year since 1993, and is celebrated in commemoration of the United Nations (UN) adoption of two documents centred around children’s rights: the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Following the example of many UN countries, Canada made a commitment to ensure that all children and youth are treated with dignity and respect and that they all have a voice, are protected from harm, are provided with basic needs and are given every opportunity to reach their full potential.

As children and youth spend so much of their lives at school, the school environment is considered an ideal place to start the discussion surrounding children’s rights, which can help students feel connected to the school environment.

When children and youth learn about the rights of themselves and others, they have been shown to have higher self-esteem and a greater acceptance of others who are different than themselves. They have also been found to be more likely to stand up for themselves and to stand up for other people. This positively impacts their ability to build relationships with their fellow classmates, teachers and other school staff and helps to make the school environment a place where students feel safe, seen, heard, supported, significant and cared for. This, in turn, has a positive effect on school connectedness.

For a child-friendly version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for use in a classroom or school setting, click here.

For more information on how to incorporate information about National Child Day in your classroom, school and school community, check out the National Child Day Activity Kit and National Child Day Lesson Plans, Games and Activities.

It is important that we celebrate children and youth as active participants in their own lives and in their own communities, and as active citizens who can and should meaningfully contribute to decision making.