One of my greatest joys is watching my daughter play. A box becomes a rocket ship, blasting off to the moon; a stick becomes a magic wand, turning people into frogs. Play helps children learn, develop and grow and shape them into the adults they become. Play builds connections with others, it promotes physical activity, enhances social skills, stimulates the mind and nurtures the spirit. All children have the right to play. That’s why I’m asking you to celebrate every child’s Right to Play on November 20th - National Child Day.
National Child Day is held annually on November 20th. The purpose is to promote the awareness of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of a Child.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) include 54 articles for children’s rights which fit into three main categories:
- Protection – children have the right to be protected from all forms of harm;
- Provision – children have the right to be provided with their basic needs – food, clothing, shelter and loving relationships that nurture and guide them; and
- Participation – children have the right to participate in their community, in activities and processes that make up our society – like being a part of informing the decisions that affect them.
Canada and countries around the world celebrate National Child Day as a reminder of our shared commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This year marks the 25th anniversary of CRC. It amazes me that I have been involved in marking the convention and raising awareness of children’s rights for about 20 of those 25 years; first as an early childhood professional, then as a person involved in supporting community development, and now as a parent of young children.
Although many children in our community are encouraged to play and have the opportunity to do so, we still have work to do. Right here in the Alberta Capital Region, 37,000 children are living in poverty. Poverty creates barriers to play, causing some children to miss out on its joys and benefits.
As a community, we can do better. On November 20th, take time to reflect on your role in supporting children in our community and our collective responsibility to uphold children’s rights. Because all children deserve a chance to PLAY!