Around the world, November 20th is designated Universal Children’s Day, or el Dia universal del niño. In 1954, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that countries near and far dedicate this day to celebrating the importance of and recognizing the general welfare of children. The idea was that the world should promise children that they would be protected in order to live safely, to learn and grow in order to reach their fullest potential, and to have their ideas and thoughts heard.
Parents and educators should discuss this important day with their children and students. Homes and schools can create contracts in which they put in writing promises that they will make to the children to take care of them as well as encourage and assist them in reaching their highest goals. Additionally, children can brainstorm ways in which they can help each other, by building friendship, trust and understanding of their diverse cultures, languages, and ways of thinking.
There are several activities that teachers can do in their classrooms to celebrate this day, such as assign different groups countries around the world and study different aspects of children’s lives, such as how they go to school and their recreational activities, as well as topics such as infant and child mortality rate and graduation rate. They can research different aspects of countries’ cultures, such as the music, dress, and food, and hold multicultural celebrations in the school. In addition, bake sales and other fundraising ideas can take place to donate money to charities that help children around the world, like UNICEF or Save the Children.
Unfortunately, not every country around the world has lived up to this standard. Many children still live in impoverished and under developed conditions or in dangerous, violent situations that do not allow them to benefit from such promises. Nonetheless, since its inception, great strides have been made in areas such as increased school enrollment and declining infant mortality. As November 20th approaches this year, it can remind us all that there is still more work to be done on behalf of all children around the world.