Katy Haire

Director-General, Education Directorate

It is a great pleasure to support the ACT Children’s Week festivities as our community celebrates ACT children and young people and their right to enjoy their childhood.

Children’s Week is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the rights and achievements of children in our community, as well as to honour those who make a positive difference in children’s lives.

This year we highlight the theme, ‘Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others’.

In a year when ACT students have experienced the ‘new normal’ of learning remotely, safe connections for all children have never been more important. Meaningful connections are important for all of us, even more so during the challenges of a lockdown. Equally important is the need to support children to make decisions and to have agency in their choices.

The Education Directorate has placed student agency at the centre of its vision for education in the ACT and I believe that commitment is not diminished at all by a pandemic. Student agency forms one of four principles under the ACT’s Future of Education and the Set Up for Success Strategies. We acknowledge and affirm that all students make decisions about their learning and how their learning environments operate whether that be in a classroom, or at home via remote learning.

Many from across our education system have turned their minds this year to ensuring children and young people are given that agency and connection this year. A tremendous effort has been made by teachers, parents, families and children to look after each other and remain connected despite the challenges of physical distance. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to that effort and acknowledge the difference it has made to the lives of thousands of children and young people across the ACT.

I would also like to praise children and young people for their resilience and positivity. We can be proud of the unique contribution children and young people make every day to our community.

The ACT Education Directorate is again proud to sponsor and promote ACT Children’s Week and I would like to thank the ACT Children’s Week Committee for organising and promoting the events. Thank you also to the schools, community groups and organisations who are hosting events.

Please join with us as we celebrate the children and young people of Canberra during Children’s Week 2021.