Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA

Director-General, Education Directorate

Children’s Week is a national annual celebration of our children and promotes their right to safely enjoy childhood. The events and activities during Children’s Week provide the opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate children’s unique talents and abilities.

The Children’s Week Theme for 2020 is ‘Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others.’

This theme is taken from Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that states that ‘Children have the right to meet together and join groups and organisations as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedom and reputations of others.’

The notion of allowing children and young people to choose their own friends and remain connected to them has never been more important than in 2020. This year has seen our children’s lives change dramatically as the world navigates COVID-19, and our society’s normal ways of gathering and connecting has been transformed.

Our children have had to learn social distancing, while still having the very real need to socially connect – something that is vital for their happiness, health, growth and development.

While we grapple with keeping our children safe, they continue to express their worries about the world they inhabit and will inherit. I believe now more than ever we need to be listening to our children and really hear them as they voice their concerns and ideas for our world’s future. Our children have a wisdom that should inform our approach to the environment, equality and justice.

The ACT Government is working to ensure that all our children are safe, healthy, connected to others and are supported to have the best start in life. Canberra’s children and young people have shown great resilience and adaptability in 2020, and Children’s Week is a great opportunity to honour them.

I look forward to joining our children and their families in activities that continue to promote connection and community.

Have a wonderful Children’s Week!