Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated around Universal Children’s Day, designated in Australia as the fourth Wednesday in October.
Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities. A diverse range of events and activities are organised at National, State and Local levels. These focus the attention of the wider community on children, their needs and achievements.
Thousands of children and their families around the country are involved in activities and events during Children’s Week through the participation of schools, playgroups, childcare, kindergartens, cultural groups, libraries, government departments and community groups. Programs and activities are open to all children regardless of race, colour, sex, ability,
The Committee is made up of community volunteers and representatives from various organisations and government agencies who are committed to the aims of Children’s Week. Committee members meet monthly, currently via ZOOM because of the COVID 19 situation. Committee membership is open to anyone who is interested in furthering the well being of our young people in the ACT. We welcome new members and would love to hear from you if you are interested in joining us
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Rtd)
ACT CHILDREN’S WEEK PATRON
The Hon Margaret Reid AO
CHILDREN’S WEEK AMBASSADOR
Jackie French AM
ACT CHILDREN’S WEEK PRESIDENT
PO Box 513
Jamison Centre ACT 2614
Phone 1800 171 882
0415 379 653
CHILDREN’S WEEK 2020 NATIONAL FOCUS
“Children have the right to meet with other children and young people and to join groups and organisations as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.“
This fits naturally with the concept of community, living and working together for the benefit of our children and young people. It highlights both the rights and the responsibilities around children and young people interacting together respectfully. The role of volunteers is significant in this work.
Jackie French AM
Children’s Week Ambassador
Where do we find the greatest passion for justice?
In young people.
Young people have little tolerance for a film or book where good does not win in the end. In the past six years I have read possibly 20,000 young people a passage in a book where a young protagonist - a boy who has lost his family, country, even his identity- can choose to kill a helpless enemy or try to save his life. Which does he choose? I ask. Which should he choose? Which is more powerful, hatred or kindness? Because both are contagious.
In all those many audiences, only two hands have gone up to say the young man will kill a helpless enemy. The rest cry out that he will save a life.
But small human animals are not born with empathy developed. Empathy must be learned. The greatest crimes against humanity occur when we teach our children that there are ‘unpeople’ – the homeless, the mentally ill, or those just ‘not like us’, -‘unpeople’ who do not need to be considered.
This is why the heroes of Children’s Week matter so much. It is not just because of their individual projects, but because, consciously or not, they mentor every young person who meets them or hears about their work.
They teach our children to see the needs that have been unnoticed. They show our children how one person can make a difference. The current social theory is that it takes only one person in fifteen to radicalize them all to be a terrorist, whether it’s the kind who kills with physical weapons, or those equally frightening, the people who prefer not to glance at something unpleasant. The result is just as deadly, whether it is by commission or omission.
But it also takes only one person in fifteen to teach kindness, the radical kindness that acts, instead of merely muttering ‘someone needs to do something.’
Kindness does not have to be large to be significant. Helping those within a family, a
classroom, a school, a neighbourhood – every one of those breathes kindness on those fifteen people, who in turn with pass the contagion on.
Whatever vaccines are created to battle new pandemics, whatever tools to fight monstrous bushfires, storm surges, crippling droughts and raging floods, the two most essential tools or our survival and our happiness are the most basic of humanity: kindness and cooperation.
This is the year of the virus. May this also have been the year when kindness spread even more powerfully, to our children, to each other, and our planet.
In Australia, prior to 1977, Child Care Week was celebrated at different times of the year in a number of Australian states and territories with the focus being children in care or those in institutions. Following the International Year of the Child in 1979 the Commonwealth Government suggested that Universal Children’s Day be celebrated throughout Australia. The name was then changed to Children’s Week to take in a wider audience. Children’s Week Committees in each State and Territory seek to focus attention on the theme of Children’s Week – with due regard to the rights, needs and accomplishments of children, within the context of the family, the community and the world.
In 1996 it was decided to adopt a permanent theme - A Caring World Shares - as a reflection of Children's Week aims with a sub-theme for each year, initially aligning with the designated International Year. In recent years the annual theme has been taken from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory.
The Committees seek to celebrate childhood and young people while valuing their unique culture and situation. They also assist in the organisation of local activities that support and involve children, young people, their families and all who care for them.
In 1985 a proposal was made for the formation of a National body and in 1987 the first Annual General meeting and Conference was held in Melbourne. It was agreed that there be annual meetings to keep each Committee aware of Australia-wide activities. It was resolved that:
The Children’s Week Council of Australia was incorporated in 1992 and in 1997 the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane, became the Council’s Patron. All subsequent Governors General have continued this patronage.
The mission of the Children’s Week Council of Australia (CWCOA) is to encourage, support, guide, co-ordinate and monitor the widest possible participation of all States and Territories in Children’s Week, ensuring that programs and activities are open to all children regardless of race, colour, sex, ability, religion, nationality or social origin.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequality and build more peaceful, prosperous societies by 2030. Also known as the Global Goals, the SDGs are a call to action to create a world where no one is left behind.