Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky accepts a plaque outlining the Children’s Charter of Rights from North Okanagan Child Care Society preschoolers Harland Wilson (from left) Mya Loxam

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky accepts a plaque outlining the Children’s Charter of Rights from North Okanagan Child Care Society preschoolers Harland Wilson (from left) Mya Loxam

National Child Day officially celebrated in Vernon

Nov. 20 was the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children

National Child Day was recently recognized in the North Okanagan and across B.C. and Canada.

Nov. 20 was the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and is recognized annually to highlight children’s rights at home and around the world and to formally acknowledge the importance of valuing and respecting our children.

In 2011-12, the North Okanagan Branch of the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. partnered with the City of Vernon and members of the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition to develop a Children’s Charter that reflects the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and focuses on what we value as a community.

The Children’s Charter was developed with the input of many community leaders and citizens and was signed in Polson Park on May 25, 2012 during a sunny celebration in Polson Park with many families and community leaders participating.

On Nov. 20, young children were invited to city hall to meet the mayor and councillors, have a tour of the council chambers and receive cookies from the city.

The young children, between the ages of one and six, came from child care centres, preschools, and with their families. Many participated in “crazy hair” day or wore special hats that said “I am a Star.”

Four children presented Mayor Rob Sawatzky with a large plaque of the Children’s Charter and shook his hand.

Some of the children had read a story that morning about a mayor and the child care providers reported that many children were awed to have met the mayor and even were able to shake his hand.

The mayor presided over a very crowded chamber and showed them the special buttons, the gavel and the chairs in which the mayor and councillors sit in order to carry out their work of “looking after Vernon.”

To thank the mayor, councillors and city staff who hosted this visit, the children provided an impromptu rendition of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.

Many of the adults present found it very heartwarming to see our youngest citizens welcomed and celebrated by our municipal government and commented that they exhibited exceptionally good behaviour within the council chambers.

Many of these very young children walked quite a distance and created an interesting parade through town. A number of them also enjoyed playing in the natural environment of the Spirit Square outside of city hall.