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From this week’s Galway City Tribune schools pages: World Children’s Day is celebrated every year on November 20; It’s UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.

For the students of the Educar Juntos National School in Knocknacarra, this day is about teaching children about their rights and raising awareness about how they can use them.

They proved it by hosting happy hour on Galway University’s FlirtFM 101.3 last Tuesday.

Sixth grade student Leon said: “We hope to raise awareness of children’s rights, mainly because some children may not know what they are. Not all children know they have rights. We want to help children understand what they deserve.”

The day is also an opportunity to draw attention to important issues affecting children locally, nationally and internationally.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of when Ireland first signed the Charter of the Rights of the Child in 1992. This charter contains 42 articles that specifically describe the rights of the child. These include the rights to education, to play, to access healthcare, to have a voice, to be protected from violence, and to have a decent standard of living.

To recognize this important event, the Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, visited the school to learn about his school’s three-year journey to be formally recognized as a children’s rights school. It will be the first school in Galway to win the UNICEF Child Rights Ribbon.

As part of this work, each class has created their own charter which is an agreement on how the rights of the child will be realized in their classrooms. This links to article four on the Convention on the rights of the child ‘Making Rights Real’.

The whole school has a fortnightly focus on the different articles within the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This involves highlighting child-friendly information and activities that allow them to explore children’s rights in their classrooms.

The children have learned about the experiences of children from other countries and have shared their thoughts and points of view. They have explored how the articles of the Convention impact their lives and have discussed why each one is important. The items we have learned from as a school this year to date are as follows:

Article 12 – Respect for the opinions of children

Article 14 – Freedom of thought and religion

Article 15 – Constitution or Integration of Groups.

Article 38 – Protection in War

Article 39 – Recovery and Reintegration

Student Council is also busy translating school policies into more kid-friendly language so that school information is accessible to all.

Dexter, a third class student, said: “I feel happy and I feel more important than before. I thought that I always had to listen to adults. I feel like I now have a chance to speak for myself.”

For more information, see HERE

■ This article was written by the Children’s Rights Committee and the Student Council of the Knocknacarra National Educate Together School.

See the 25th November edition of the Galway City Tribune for photos and news from Knocknacarra Educate Together NS; St Patrick’s Primary School and Oranmore Boys’ School. You can send us news from your town’s primary or secondary school to feature on our weekly ‘Class Act’ pages to [email protected]

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