May 18th, 2024

National Child Day event celebrates the rights of children

By Lethbridge Herald on November 23, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - Hoop dancer and Indigenous educational Sandra Lamouche performs for children as part of the National Child Day event Saturday afternoon at Coalbanks Elementary School.

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

Saturday was all about the kids.

And Lethbridge’s patented knock-you-sideways wind wasn’t going to prevent that from happening.

National Child Day was celebrated Saturday afternoon at Coalbanks Elementary School as children and parents alike enjoyed the sunshine, but also braved the breeze that whipped the west side school. 

As that occurred, numerous community organizations set up tables with a variety of programs for children to sign up for on the day celebrating the youth.

“We have 15 community partners coming out helping to get people connected into programs and services,” said Megan Miller, coordinator for the Lethbridge Early Years Coalition. “Each one of the tables has a game or activity or something to do that’s fun for the kids. We’ve got colouring contests with great prizes we’re going to draw for later today. We had some pop-up yoga happening, some story time with the library and we’re going to have a hoop dancer come out.”

Canada has declared November 20 as National Child Day to celebrate the rights of children. November 20 was chosen as the day to celebrate National Child Day because the United Nations adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989.

By signing onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, Canada made a commitment to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect and have every opportunity to reach their full potential. 

It’s a commitment that includes providing children opportunities to have a voice – to speak out and be heard – protecting children from harm and ensuring children’s basic needs are met

“So National Child Day is celebrated around the country as a reminder that Canada is upholding these rights for the children and it’s a reminder to hold our government accountable to these rights and make sure all children have access,” said Miller.

The past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation it caused makes community involvement especially important, said Miller.

“Feeling like we’re coming together in community is really important. The last year has been really challenging on mental health, especially for families with young children because they’ve really been isolated, especially if they’re not already enrolled in school programs. So having something like this where people can come out (where they’re) outside, so people feeling safe and getting connected with other people in their neighbourhood and services in their community really goes a long way to helping families cope with stress and anxiety they’re having around the pandemic. Being connected in your community is a huge part of a family’s wellness and mental health.”

Saturday’s event ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Miller said by noon over 100 families had already stopped by.

Despite the blustery conditions, Miller stressed the importance of hitting the outdoors and being active.

“At the Early Years Coalition we’re looking at ways to help children and a lot of our partner organizations are seeing gaps in children’s development, especially in the last couple of years with all the isolation and outdoor play really hits a lot of those points and really addresses that play deficit that we’re seeing in the community,” she said. “So encouraging families to get outside and play, no matter what the weather is. It’s so good for our bodies and our physical literacy. It’s all around really helpful. The kids are generally pretty happy to get out there and play with the adults. Playing outdoors is a great way to connect with community and a great way to get physical, get active and be healthy.”

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