Field Notes: November 2017
Celebrating the rights and voices of children
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and an expanded Convention on the Rights of the Child was introduced on that same date 30 years later. The Convention consists of 54 Articles outlining the rights we believe hold true for all children. Many of the rights outlined are within our power as educators to protect and are activities we know can foster well-being.
A poster of this pivotal treaty hangs in the HELP offices at the University of British Columbia, and its principles strongly informed my journey to create the MDI in 2006. Much like the Convention, the MDI holds that child well-being is of paramount importance, children have the right to give their opinion, and as adults, we have the responsibility to listen and take it seriously and the obligation to make sure we’re providing the best environments for children and doing our part to help them thrive.
This month, as we celebrate the anniversary of this declaration, we’re also asking over 33,000 children in British Columbia (and another 11,000 children across Canada) to tell us about their lives and to participate in a process of identifying their strengths and their needs through the MDI. This is our seventh year of collecting MDI data and the largest collection of MDI data to date. It is our job as researchers, as educators, as public servants, as family and community members to listen to what our children and youth have to say, share these findings back with them in a way they can understand, and work with them to ensure everyone has a chance to fully thrive in their community.
I’m excited to share some new resources and stories celebrating children’s voices below with all of you. But even more importantly, I want to thank all of the districts and communities who are participating in the MDI this year. Thank you for your dedication to ensuring children’s voices are heard and your continued work to help them thrive.