Mark the Day – Who did what?

NICCY encouraged as many organisations – statutory, voluntary, community and private – to ‘Mark the Day’ and celebrate along with us the UNCRC and child rights, on or around that date.

See below for examples for how some groups did it:

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

  • Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon BC asked children across the Borough to tell them about what they think about play in their area via short video clips. They launched these in their Play Pledge Video on 20th November 2019.

Armagh Robinson Library

  • Armagh Robinson Library marked the anniversary by displaying works from its own eighteenth-century holdings, which refer to children and issues surrounding children’s rights. Examples from the eighteenth-century include children’s health, workhouses and charity schools.
  • The title of the Library’s exhibition is ‘If We Don’t Stand up for Children, Then We Don’t Stand up for Much’, a quotation from the children’s rights activist, Marian Wright Edelman. The exhibition was launched by Koulla Yiasouma, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY). Speaking before the launch, Koulla said, “I am delighted to be joining the Library, their guests and most importantly the children of Drelincourt School in this unique celebration of the promises that our government has made to each and every child across Northern Ireland.  Together we will all be standing up for children and their rights”

Belfast Royal Academy

  • BRA held a non-uniform day where pupils were encouraged to wear blue (official UNICEF colour) and make a donation to UNICEF. One lucky pupil (Lucy Smyth, Form 1) took on the role Principal for the day. The Principal, Mrs Woods, took Lucy’s place in Music and Chemistry classes.
  • As part of her new role, Lucy led the Staff Briefing, visited a number of classrooms and also implemented the following rules:

    1. All teachers were expected to play their favourite song at the start of each lesson (dancing was optional).
    2. When homework was set this had to be sung by the class teacher, or by performing charades. Failure to do so resulted in the pupils being exempt from completing the homework.
    3. Form I pupils were allowed out 10 minutes early at lunch.

Clare Primary School, Tandragee

  • Clare PS attended the celebration event at W5 and publicised it on their school website and social media.

Clifton Special School, Bangor

  • As a Rights Respecting School, Clifton Special School really looked forward to the day. They held a mixed-age play day for the Primary Department. This was a collaborative event with all pupils age 3 to 11 engaging in play activities and learning together. They supported the UNCRC, especially Article 31 – Every child has the Right to Play and Article 29 – Every child has the right to an education. On the 20th November, they wore the colour blue to mark the occasion.

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Antrim

  • CAFRE planned student engagement activities in November 2019, across all three CAFRE Campuses at Enniskillen, Greenmount and Loughry to mark the UNCRC 30th anniversary. These activities were planned in conjunction with the annual Student Health Fairs and were open to all CAFRE students, including children and young people from 16 years of age.

Department for Communities

  • DfC highlighted Arts Council NI funding for culture for young children, by publicising “Jacks Journey”. This is a project run through Eastside Arts’ CS Lewis Festival, involving pupils from Campbell College Junior School, St Joseph’s and Strandtown Primary Schools. A Lunchtime Awareness Seminar on UNCRC was organised for DfC staff. DfC Press Office posted a message on social media highlighting the day.

Department for Infrastructure

  • The Department for Infrastructure’s Safe and Accessible Travel Division released two social media posts on the Green Cross Code and the seatbelt wearing law on the day, with acknowledgement to the UNCRC 30th.

Derry City & Strabane District Council, EA Youth Service & Co-operation Ireland

  • The newly established Ministry of Youth Participative Structure for Derry City & Strabane District Council, in partnership with EA and Co-operation Ireland met at Pennyburn Youth Club with all participants wearing blue. Participants received a copy of the UNCRC Articles and participated in a Child Rights exercise. Young people also marked the day using their social media platforms by posting at the same time and contributing to a press release.

Euston Street Primary School, Belfast

  • Each pupil wore something blue; child rights lessons were completed and a whole school assembly held about children’s rights. Euston Street PS shared their experiences on their website and Facebook.

The Executive Office

  • The Executuve Office will took the opportunity to raise awareness of UNCRC at a Community Education celebration event on the 21st November and at the opening of Castlewellan Community centre that will operate a youth club, early year’s provision and various other youth offerings on the 22nd TEO acknowledged the 30th Anniversary of the UNCRC using social media and the Urban Villages E-zine to highlight our UV programmes that support children and young people across UV areas. They also posted links to young peoples’ Ted Talks, supporting children and young people to express their views on important matters.

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council

  • Fermanagh & Omagh DC lit up Enniskillen Castle and the Strule Arts Centrein Unicef blue.  They promoted the UNCRC in the local papers and on social media.

Holy Evangelists’ Primary School, Belfast

  • As Holy Evangelists’ PS work towards their Goal Rights Respecting Schools Award, they held an assembly with the School Council to remind and inform pupils, staff and local community members about children’s rights. They also ran a competition where children could design a new logo/motif to represent children’s rights so that they will be easily identified throughout the school. Children and staff could wear something blue to mark the occasion. Throughout the day, Rights were talked about in all classes through circle time and other activities.

Include Youth

  • Each Include Youth office / project and partner project are ran taster sessions in the UNCRC with young people on the day, highlighting the difference that the UNCRC has made to date and looking at current challenges for children and young people locally and globally. They also wore blue and shared messages on social media using #ForEveryChild.

Libraries NI

  • As well as supporting the day through social media, Libraries NI embraced Universal Children’s day with:
    • Children’s book displays on Human Rights in Bangor Carnegie, Belfast Central, Derry Central, Lisburn City, Ballymena Central, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Finaghy, Glengormley, Lurgan, Newry City and Omagh libraries;
  • Activity sheets for children available for branch libraries;
  • Arranged storytelling with Liz Weir:
    • in Armagh City library with P5 children from a local school;
    • in Keady library for children aged 4 to 12yrs;
  • Held a Play Party in Suffolk library (3:00pm – 5:00pm) where children took part in a variety of games such as snakes and ladders, Ludo, giant Connect 4, skittles and quoits. They also enjoyed colouring in, word searches and quizzes; 
  • A book display in the Information Library (1st floor, Belfast Central Library) to mark the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10th Dec); and
  • A Human Rights eBook curated list on the Libraries NI eBook site.

Mid Ulster District Council

  • Mid Ulster DC will marked the day by illuminating its designated properties on the evening of 20th November to mark the 30th Anniversary of UNCRC. The designated properties were Ranfurly Arts & Visitors Centre, Dungannon; Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre and Bridewell, Magherafelt.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

  • Mid and East Antrim BC will be offered ‘Kids Free Swimming’ at all 3 of their Leisure Centres and ‘Come and Try It’ 30 minute sports classes on Wednesday 20th November 2019.

Mount St. Catherine’s Primary School, Armagh

  • At the whole school assembly, the school community celebrated children’s rights with music, dance and drama.

Phoenix Integrated Primary School, Cookstown

  • Each class in Phoenix IPS will marked the day by completing activities in their classrooms. These activities were shared on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Playboard NI

  • PlayBoard NI’s Annual Conference is took place on 20 November 2019 to mark Universal Children’s Day. The conference, Play Matters because Play Builds Children, focussed on play as a key building block of childhood;
  • Jacqueline O’Loughlin, Chief Executive, PlayBoard NI said, “The 20th of November is a historic milestone in the field of child welfare and children’s rights…… Play is not a luxury but a necessity; however there has been a dramatic loss in time spent by children playing outdoors over the last number of decades. At a time when there are worrying concerns for children’s health and well-being and an increase in childhood obesity, our conference aims to open up new possibilities for decision-makers to work collectively to deliver improved play experiences and opportunities for all our children, now and in the future.”; and
  • Derek Baker, Department of Education Permanent Secretary said, “The importance of play in children and young people’s development and well-being cannot be overestimated and it is fitting that today’s conference coincides with World Children’s Day.

St. Brigid’s Primary School, Mayogall

  • Brigid’s PS hosted a whole school assembly; had a poster competition as well as promoting the 30th Anniversary through social media, the school newsletter and the local press.

St. Columbanus College, Bangor

  • There was a fantastic event at St Columbanus’ College for NICCY’s Mark The Day initiative to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UNCRC. St Columbanus College, along with Bangor Academy and Bangor Grammar held a Shared Education Student Council meeting. The pupils held an icebreaker activity which allowed them to relax, get to know each other and make new friends. They then broke into groups, looked through and discussed the UNCRC and identified three rights they deemed most significant. From this, the pupils constructed a Joint School’s Charter which highlighted the importance of their chosen rights, how pupils could respect each other’s rights and also how adults could respect them. The pupils were so enthusiastic throughout the task and it gave them the opportunity to really voice their opinions. They also realised they had very similar outlooks, despite being from different schools and coming from different backgrounds! After gaining more confidence, the feedback at the end of the event was pupil lead and the pupils collated their ideas;
  • More shared education events will take place throughout the course of the year where the pupils will use their creativity to devise ways we can uphold what they wrote in their charter! ;and
  • Shaun in Year 8 said ‘Our joint Student Council meeting on International Children’s day was really fun and interesting. It was good being able to talk to and team up with pupils from other schools. I also really enjoyed learning about all of the rights that children have. We all liked being able to see that no matter where we are from, home or school, we all have the same rights.

St. Columb’s College, Derry

  • Columb’s College placed a huge banner at the front of the school a few days before the anniversary and explained to their pupils in Form Classes and Assemblies what they were celebrating; 
  • “We had a great experience! The celebration served to highlight the rights of children and young people among all our pupils, staff and parents. It was a real education for many of our pupils and resulted in engaging and interesting debate and discussion. Also, it was an opportunity for St. Columb’s to endorse the rights of children and young people and to show that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in defending their rights All in all it was a real awareness raising exercise!” (Mr M McConnellogue, Senior Teacher); 
  • A nine minute video produced by QUB on the UNCRCYP was shown in most Form Classes and then a discussion ensued. Pupils were permitted to wear odd socks on the day and we lit up the foyer blue. Teachers also wore badges marking the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC; 
  • A message was place on a number of platforms to highlight the anniversary – Twitter; Facebook; Webpage and School App; and
  • Teacher, Ryan Horner took a group of pupils to NICCY Celebration event in W5, Belfast.

St Mary’s Primary School, Rathfriland

  • Mary’s PS gave children across all Key Stages the opportunity to find out more about the UNCRC and to discuss their rights. On the 20th November and in the run up to it, they posted on Twitter the activities the children have been involved in.

St. Mary’s High School, Downpatrick

  • St. Mary’s raised the profile of the UNCRC through creating posters for each classroom

Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre

  • Woodlands JJC will be hosted a series of discussion forums with groups of young people looking at children’s rights and how Woodland can best support them.  Team Leaders at Woodlands also be organised interactive activities that focus on children’s rights.

Youth Justice Agency

  • YJA tweeted about the rights-based training that our Youth Justice Services staff received Children’s Law Centre and UNICEF.  They shared key messages on 20th November about how their models of practice reflect the best interests of their young people