The Rights of Children in Childcare

Posted in: Featured Posts, NBACL Blog, NBACL News
Kristi Peterson

Kristi Ewart is NBACL Manager of Early Learning and Inclusive Childcare

By Kristi Ewart

On November 20th, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This treaty is the most comprehensive of its kind in regards to the protection and support of all children, without discrimination. It recognizes that children have a right to be provided with unique care and protection. Canada has recognized this as well and has joined a number of other countries in signing and ratifying the CRC. By doing so, it shows our commitment and recognition of the fundamental human rights of our children. It also demonstrates our dedication in ensuring our children’s well-being and healthy development.

It’s important to also recognize the rights of children within early learning and childcare. While the CRC does not explicitly discuss the role of childcare in regards to a child’s rights, it does examine the responsibility of the state parties in ensuring that children who have working parents have the right to benefit from childcare services (Article 18). Children have the right to quality, inclusive education – one which promotes emotional, social, intellectual, and physical development, as well as the right to relax, play, and experience a diverse range of cultural and artistic activities (Article 31). Early learning and childcare services are meant to provide children with a foundation of inclusive, high quality education and play experiences. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children have this right and cannot be denied based on discrimination of any sort (race, religion, culture, ability, etc). Childcare provides opportunities for children of all cultures, races, and abilities to form friendships and promote acceptance, diversity, inclusion, and respect for human rights. These opportunities and experiences are critical for children to understand their rights as a person, but to also recognize each other’s rights. Additionally, early learning and childcare services is often provided during the period of time when disabilities are identified and the recognition of any necessary learning supports occurs.

As parents and early childhood educators, it’s important to understand the rights children with disabilities have within their early learning and childcare environment. Article 23(1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that children with disabilities “should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community”.

As parents and early childhood educators, it’s important to understand the rights children with disabilities have within their early learning and childcare environment. Article 23Happy Little Faces Daycare-100(1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that children with disabilities “should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community”. If children’s rights in childcare are not recognized and enforced, everyone stands to lose.

Children with disabilities will not be given the opportunity to lead a full and decent life; one that promotes meaningful community participation and friendships. Children without disabilities will be denied opportunities to learn critical life lessons – that every person has a place in society; that diversity needs to be celebrated and considered an asset; that to be scared of differences is unnecessary; and that each person, regardless of age, gender, culture, or ability has the right to be offered the same opportunities and the necessary supports to participate and succeed.

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