Today is World Children's Day.
November 20 is all about highlighting the importance of children; how they have special rights and freedoms which allow them to grow into happy, healthy adults. Today, charities all over the world (including the ISPCC), are raising awareness to help children achieve their full potential.
The Irish government has launched a new strategy called 'First 5' in honour of World Children's Day. It is Ireland’s first ever cross-departmental strategy to support babies, young children and their families.
In a statement shared via the government's news service, it was announced, "The ambitious ten-year plan will deliver a broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring, and a new model of parenting support."
It also says there will be, "New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce; reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model; and a package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty."
Delighted to join a number of my colleagues and lots of little people to launch First 5, our new 10 yr plan for early childhood, being led by Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Not often I get to start my day with a bit of Lego... pic.twitter.com/qlPxB1lzgh
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) November 19, 2018
Speaking at the launch, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, "The first five years of a child’s life only happen once, but the impact of their experiences during this period can last a lifetime. For this reason, the government has developed the ‘First 5’ strategy."
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone added, "Experts, including children themselves, recognise the essential role played by families in nurturing healthy child development. That is why strengthening families is at the heart of this strategy.
"Alongside greater opportunities to balance work and home life (through parental leave and flexible working), First 5 develops a new national model of parenting supports; making parenting supports and high-quality programmes more accessible to all families for the first time."
The ISPCC is launching a new service today too. Taking to Twitter earlier today, the charity said, "Happy #WorldChildrensDay everyone! We're hugely excited to be launching our next generation ISPCC Childline service for children and young people today..."
"We’re excited that #WorldChildrensDay is here and looking forward to launching our new digital platform later this afternoon," they added.
Happy #WorldChildrensDay everyone! We're hugely excited to be launching our next generation @ISPCCChildline service for children and young people today and there's lots more happening too - check the link in the tweet below for details! https://t.co/q2rwLjlRm9
— ISPCC Childline (@ISPCCChildline) November 20, 2018
Organisers of Children’s Day have arranged for children to ’takeover’ grown-up jobs. Young people have been selected to spend the day doing various activities: from running departments in the government to training with the Irish soccer team.
Other takeovers are taking place a little closer to home. Two children (aged 10 and 13) will be shadowing Suzanne Connolly, CEO of Barnardos. They'll visit a Barnardos project with her, as well as share the priorities they believe the CEO should focus on.
What's more, students from St. Dympna’s National School in County Meath will be taking on the roles of principal, teachers, school secretary, and cleaner.
Organisers say World Children’s Day is about a fun day, with a serious message; when kids ‘take over’ high-visibility roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to shine a light on the most pressing challenges faced by their generation.
For more information about World Children's Day events in Ireland, click here.
Photo via Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Twitter.