United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Our school welcomed the invitation by Ms Pauline Miceli, the Commissioner for Children, to participate in this year’s celebration.
After a couple of brainstorming sessions together with our School Students’ Council, the World Children’s Day (WCD) team came up with a number of activities that extended over a full month starting on Friday 20th October leading up to World Children’s Day on Monday 20th November.
The activities were as follows:
- Starting Friday 20th October till Monday 20th November, our school held a video competition called Write the right. A cartoon animation was shown on a loop on a flat screen in the foyer. Students had to watch the video, guess the right which was being portrayed, write it down on a sheet of paper and put the sheet in a designated box. A large number of students took part in this activity. Every week a winner was drawn by lots (subject to have guessed the ‘right’) and received a book token. Ms B Kingswell, PSCD teacher, devised and monitored this very successful initiative.
- Starting Monday 13th November till Monday 20th November, Art Club students set up an Art Exhibition in the School Foyer called Children’s rights and responsibilities guided by Ms C Tanti, Art teacher.
Concurrently, a Photographic Exhibition called Children around the World was also held in the school foyer. Students of Ms S Sammut and Ms C Caruana Fava, teachers of Social Studies, teamed up to present this exhibition which explored the themes of commonality and diversity of language, food, clothing, schooling and daily life of children.
During midday break, live songs were performed by students on piano assisted by Ms G Degabriele, Music teacher.
- On Tuesday 14th November, two representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Children held three activity sessions for Year 7 students plus members of School Student Council. These sessions reflected the rights of the child as enshrined in The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Storja ta’ Tifel was the opening theme of Wednesday 15th November morning assembly. Students read out in Maltese The story of Ismael Beah who lived and fought as a child during the Sierra Leone civil war. Today he’s a human rights activist. Mr C Scicluna’s students ably narrated this story which visibly had a marked effect on fellow students present during assembly.
- On Monday 20th November, all students were wearing their tracksuit and a plain coloured black, blue or green t-shirt. Students entering school were delighted to watch a remake of the music video What about us? by Kids United. We decided to show it on a loop as many insisted to watch it over and over again.
We kicked off the day with a special school assembly. A group of students read out the story of an outstanding young person, Malala Yousafzai, outlining her early life, her activism and the attack incident. The students reading out her story stopped at a precarious point of the story thus creating a ‘cliff-hanger’ effect and asked fellow students to satisfy their curiosity by looking up information about Malala. The rest of her story, together with photos and her quotes, were on the notice-board.
A bookmark was then distributed commemorating World Children’s Day, with a photo of Malala and one of her inspiring quotes, urging students to appreciate education because it is empowering. The story of Malala had a great impact on students. Ms S Camilleri, HOD English, oversaw this inspiring presentation.
Next, it was the School Student Council members’ turn to address their peers outlining the importance of knowing one’s ‘Rights and Responsibilities’. They then proceeded to declare World Children’s Day open!
Midday break was longer than usual. Music was aired via the PA system inside the school and in the ground as students queued for their pre-ordered WCD snack. Midway during break there was a Hip Hop Dance performance by a renowned local dance company and a short but worthwhile explanation of the Hip Hop Culture by choreographer and dance school director Peter Ray Portelli.
As the day drew to an end, all our students gathered round to form a tableau. Ms M Grech, Ms P Borg and Mr JP Schembri, PE teachers, were in charge of the display. Top down perspective photos were taken to commemorate the event.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this event such a success. We all had a great time ourselves and we hope that the students and our colleagues did as well! Special thanks go to Mr R Abela, Teacher of Religion and School Librarian who provided books for winners of Write the Right video competition, to colleagues who helped out in distributing WCD snacks and to our SMT who believed in our initiative and supported us throughout.
This was my first ever WCD event at our school and I’d love to have your suggestions for next year’s. In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures that we captured during these days and stay tuned in the future for news on any new ventures we may decide to take on!
Ms. M. Navarro