Inquiring Minds is delighted to share this post from Ms. Amy Pitt, Richland Academy’s Performing Arts teacher. Richland has been recognized by Unicef Canada as a Rights Respecting School, and today we honour and celebrate Universal Children’s Day.Every year on November 20th, the world celebrates Universal Children’s Day. It’s a day to enjoy and acknowledge children for just being themselves and to identify them as essential and respected members of society, now and going forward. It’s the day when the United Nations on the Rights of the Child was signed in 1989. However, the day was first proposed by the UN General Assembly in 1954, to encourage community and empathy among worldwide. The UNCRC talks about everything from a child’s right to be free from abuse, to the right to their own opinion, the right to an education, and to medical care.At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, all of Richland’s classrooms created their charter of rights collaboratively as a group.Each charter is as different and unique as the group that created it both in content and design. Students and teachers learned about the convention and decided on the articles that they found most important for their classrooms. They also signed their charters and have posted them in their classrooms as a reminder to them and to others who enter their space.As Richland’s Children’s Rights Team leader, I also created a “Graffiti Wall” where staff, students, and other members of our school community could express their thoughts and ideas around what was important to include in our new, school wide, Charter of Rights for the 2013-2014 school year. This way, everyone’s valuable voices were heard. The community was invited to communicate their ideas in whatever way they wanted on the wall. Some came as a class, as individuals, and in small groups. Some drew pictures, used their own words, or quoted directly from the convention.In October, the adult and student members of the school’s Children’s Rights Team (one member of every class from Grades 1-6, democratically elected by their peers) got to work on synthesizing all of the ideas present on the Graffiti Wall to create our School Wide Charter. We look forward to unveiling our charter with our school community.