Children’s Right’s Referendum

Children’s Right’s Referendum

Save the date – November 10th !

 November 10th looms and it is an important day for children in Ireland.  It is the day we are asked to vote to change the constitution on children’s rights.  

Early Childhood Ireland believes in children’s rights.  We have has always worked from a rights based approach and it influences how we see, understand and work with children.  Our work is underpinned by the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Early Childhood Ireland sees the child as full of potential, competent and capable in their own right.

 As a member of Early Childhood Ireland we urge you to take time to discuss children’s rights and the referendum with your staff.  Talk about the referendum issues as you see them.  Engage with your parents, highlighting the need to ‘have your say’ and vote on 10th November.  Perhaps even have a parent’s night.

We have included on our web site a downloadable drawing sheet   with some ideas that may be useful in bringing up the issue of rights with the children.
Our aim is to encourage all our members, their families, staff and parents to be informed and vote on 10th November       

Students of Early Childhood Degree Programmes

For the first time ever a Referendum is to be held on a Saturday to enable people return home to VOTE.  Children’s rights are important so we urge you, as someone who has a real interest in children’s lives, to inform yourself of the referendum issues and to get out and Vote on 10th November.   

Why is Ireland holding a Children’s Rights referendum?

Although Ireland ratified the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1992,  some of the Convention provisions cannot be realised until the Constitution is reformed. The 1937 Constitution of Ireland was written at a specific point in time, within the culture of that era and enshrining  a particular set of  values.  To recognise and affirm the rights of children within the Constitution, a referendum on Children’s Rights will be held and if endorsed by the people, the changes will be signed by the President into Irish Law.

Children’s Right’s Referendum Key Messages:

Children have rights – The new wording  recognises that all children have rights and these rights need to be protected and supported by the State.

Protecting Children – Children have a right to be protected against harm and to be kept safe. Sometimes a child’s parents may not provide enough care to keep them safe , and the State may have to intervene and offer support to families at an early stage, and in some exceptional  cases offer alternative caregivers for the children.

Best interests of the Child – The new amendment proposes that children’s best interests  shall be of the utmost  importance when critical decisions are being made about the protection, welfare and care of the child.

Listening to Children – Children have the right to be listened to, and to be active participants in their lives. The views of the child must be heard and taken into account.

Practitioner Guide

Early Childhood Ireland is encouraging practitioners and parents to vote in the upcoming Referendum on Children’s Rights on Saturday 10th November.  One way we can help create discussion both in the service and at home is by getting the children involved.

The attached sheet is a prompt that can be used with children in your service.  The aim is to initiate some thinking on themes arising from the proposed constitutional changes and to present them to children in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their immediate lives.  We hope that in talking about rights and children’s lives that they will bring home the message that it is good to vote.

1.    Open discussion with the children in groups of 5 or 6
2.    Set the scene – tell them that people want to make sure that Ireland is a good place for children to live and they
will be voting on 10th November.  
3.    Pick any one of the topics and get them thinking
4.    Allow each child to contribute to the discussion
5.    Listen carefully and acknowledge their contribution
6.    Have the drawing sheets available and let the children use them.
7.    Encourage the children to take home the sheets, discuss with Mum or Dad and stick them up on the fridge.

Remember the message is: ‘Go out to Vote on 10th November’

 

Key Messages for Children:

All children have rights
The adults in charge need to:
•    Make sure that they look out for children,
•    Make sure that all children are kept safe,
•    Make sure  that all children are treated fairly and
•    Make sure that all children are listened to

Key Messages for Parents
•    Talk with your children about rights – have the discussion at home
•    Inform yourself on the issues in the Referendum
•    Make sure you vote on 10th November – talk to your child about voting and why it is important.

Rights in Practice

Questions for the adult/practitioner to consider
•    What do rights look like in our service?
•    How do we as practitioners ensure that each child:
Is listened to?
Has opportunity to make choice?
Is enabled to participate in the life of the service?
•    How can we build on children’s sense of justice? – being fair
•    How can we help children be informed citizens? – have a sense of responsibility and a sense of actively contributing
•    How can we give children opportunities to speak and to be heard by the group
•    How can we support children participate, be part of the group or be part of the play?

 

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