We all love to celebrate Children’s Week, after all supporting children’s happiness and wellbeing and helping them to thrive is the foundation of quality early childhood education.
This year’s theme looks straightforward, but it actually contains many layers which we unpack with the help of the National Children’s Commissioner.
The theme for Children’s Week 2019 is another of the 39 articles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This year we are engaging with Article 24 – which states that all children are entitled to “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health”.
Napcan has produced another wonderful poster with Australian artwork and a poem for children to relate to, and posted a short message explaining the theme by Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell:
“The right to health is particularly important for children, because their developing brains and bodies can make them more vulnerable to certain health conditions. If they are not healthy, children face barriers to claiming many other basic rights – like being able to learn, play and reach their full potential, as they grow into adults.”
“Children’s right to health is also what is referred to as an ‘inclusive right’, because it extends to more than just access to health care services, to include a wide range of other rights that can affect a child’s health – such as the right to non-discrimination and the right to access health-related education and information.”
Ms Mitchell points out that in order for children to be healthy, they also need access to the underlying pre-conditions for good health such as:
- clean water and air
- safe care and housing
- nutritious food
- And the right to good mental health.
With this in mind, Amplify! has pulled together a range of resources and links to help educators and services provide the best possible support for these underlying aspects of children’s health and wellbeing.
Supporting the mental health of young children
Is your service connected to Be You Early Learning? This is a national program run by Beyond Blue and Early Childhood Australia to support children’s mental health in early learning services (it also operates with headsart in schools).
Be You empowers early childhood educators, by helping them to develop valuable mental health skills and knowledge, while also providing an effective model for implementing a whole-learning community approach to mental health and wellbeing.
As their introductory video says: “While we can’t always control what happens in life, we can learn ways to care for our mental health and well-being.”
How ChildSafe is your organisation?
As a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and for the future safety of children, the Human Rights Commission developed a national benchmark for organisations working with children and young people across sectors and the country to develop and maintain a child safe culture.
These National Principles for Child Safe Organisations have now been endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Council of Australian Governments (all state and territory premiers and chief ministers)
Helping children exercise and eat nutritious food
With all the concern over childhood obesity, there are now many programs to support early childhood educators to encourage healthy eating, nutrition and fun ways to get children moving.
- The NSW Education Department has developed the Munch & Move Program and resources, like these Songs and Songbook.
- SA Health has developed some interesting resources to support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in young children – like these Eat A Rainbow posters, teachers guides and toolkit.
- Download this Eat A Rainbow Bingo Cards Game – Print out the game board and vegetable cards, and follow the easy steps to play this game at your service.
- And here is a fun sing-a-long video Vegetable Song for Kids by a group called Formidable Vegetables, who have taken on the mission of educating children and adults about the importance of growing and eating vegies.
Hopefully with these resources we can work together as Megan Michell hopes:
We must all work together to find better ways to support children to be healthy and thrive: both physically and mentally. Children’s Week is a wonderful way to raise awareness about children’s right to good health!
Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.