Campus Life  

ECE department celebrates National Child Day

Two Early Childhood Education students showcase their presentation during National Child Day

Education is a powerful tool to advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves, which was why Early Childhood Education (ECE) students spent National Child Day talking to peers about the difficulties children face in Canada and around the world.

National Child Day is officially observed on Nov. 20, but ECE Instructor Rebecca Ayotte said she and her students wanted to do something this week to bring awareness not just in the ECE department, but throughout the College as well. The class set up presentations in the CFL Atrium in Kelowna Tuesday, engaging students and employees who passed by. 

Ayotte said the feedback was good, with many students interacting with the ECE department and the presentations they had and being open to learning more about children’s rights.

“Some OC community members were shocked from the research that ECE students presented. The information isn’t just about Canada, they also put it into context around the world,” she said.

She said some statistics were alarming to other students.

“I think some of the statistics are shocking about the percentages of children that are getting abused,” Ayotte said. “60,000 children are reported a year in B.C. with suspicion of abuse or neglect involving a child.”

Canada signed onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, committing that Canadian children will be treated with dignity and respect, and given protection from harm and abuse. But despite this, many children still get hurt in various ways, which is why Ayotte said it’s important to spread the word about the situation.

ECE students Kiara Sandrelli and Michelle L'heureux said they recognize that education is the first step to change. 

“We want the public to know about the struggles children face and how much they need to be successful in this world. We wanted to give ways to help and we wanted to give others a new perspective of the world around them,” Sandrelli said.

She added that children's rights often get sidelined by bigger news items. "Really, we just want to open people's eyes."

L'heureux and Sandrelli both said being aware of children's rights is an important aspect of what they both want to do in the future.

“If you’re working at a child care facility, you have to make sure you’re treating the children with respect because you don’t know what’s going on at home or what they’re going through, unless that’s told to you,” Sandrelli said.

“We hope that people get a deeper understanding of children and can understand that there’s so much going on around them that they don’t see.”

Ayotte hopes that once people are more aware of children's rights, that they acknowledge those rights and normalize advocating for children. 

“There are Indigenous areas in our communities that don’t have fresh water for their children, and that’s happening just under our noses. The ECE students came together with passion to bring awareness to the Rights of the Child, and I believe they did that with the engagement and conversations I saw at the Kelowna campus,” she said.

“We need to fight for our children regardless of who they are and where they come from. We are the only advocates they have.”

More Campus Life articles