Celebrating children’s rights in Revelstoke

By David F. Rooney

A couple of hundred parents and children celebrated the rights of children in Revelstoke at a special ceremony organized by the Early Childhood Development Committee (ECDC) at RSS on Thursday evening.

Preceded by entertainment from local preschoolers and elementary school students and the presentation of the Most Family-Friendly Business Award to Christy Shaw of Mountain Goodness and the Most Family-Friendly Workplace to Roberta Bobicki of the Revelstoke Credit Union, the ceremony culminated in the signing of what the ECDC called the Revelstoke Children’s Charter.

“This Charter sets out a vision for our children to have the freedom to grow as individuals,” said ECDC Coordinator Tracy Spannier.

Based on the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, the local charter says children have the right to:

  • Food, clothing a safe place to live and to have their basic needs met;
  • Protection from neglect and the freedom t live without fear;
  • Protection from physical, psychological or sexual abuse both in and out of the home;
  • Time with their families and other nurturing and positive role models;
  • Special education and accommodations if they have a disability, so they have equal access and opportunities;
  • an individual identity free from discrimination;
  • access to recreation and leisure activities;
  • Be respected, speak freely and have their opinions heard;
  • The best health care possible;
  • Quality child care and early childhood development opportunities;
  • Quality education that enables them to reach their full potential;
  • Play, participate and make friends;
  • Peace;
  • Have their own privacy; and
  • Be served by governments that honour their responsibilities to children.
This may sound self-evident, but not all children enjoy these rights and while the Revelstoke Children’s Charter is not legally binding it does provide a clear vision and framework for the kind of community we aspire to be.
Revelstoke already enjoys a reputation for progressive thinking when it comes to children and education and that was underscored by the presence of a group of teachers who drove here from Nelson to learn more about our local experience.
During a presentation after the signing of the Charter by Mayor David Raven and other dignitaries, Spannier and School District 19 Superintendent Anne Cooper (who actually sang small portions of her role) outlined the many successes enjoyed in Revelstoke where a progressive Early Childhood Development program has long been regarded to be the key to future educational success by children.
“We deeply believe this is the way we should work,” Spannier said.
And it is paying tangible dividends, with the establishment of a number of successful preschool programs and active attention to the well-being of kids at the elementary level, the vulnerability of local children, as measured using the so-called Early Development Instrument, has improved greatly since province-wide measurements were begun in 1999. Revelstoke has gone from fifth place with 19.1% of students regarded as vulnerable to to first place. Local measurement of the number of students who have moderate-to-intense behavioural problems have declined markedly from 38 in 2004/05 to only three students this year, Cooper said.
Now, with the Neighbourhood of Learning program set to open next year the future should be even brighter for local school kids.
If you missed Thursday’s ceremony, you can capture a sense of it through the following photos:
Sponsored by the Revelstoke Credit Union, Thursday's signing ceremony for the Revelstoke Children's Charter offered the crowd a lovely selection of nibblies and light refreshments. David F. Rooney photo
The RSS Jazz Band, conducted by Tessa Davis, provided excellent sound for Thursday evening's signing of the Revelstoke Children's Charter. David F. Rooney photo
This photo shows just a part of the crowd that attended the signing of the Charter at Revelstoke Secondary School. A couple of hundred adults and children attended the first half of the ceremony, which featured entertainment by kids from each of the city's elementary schools. David F. Rooney photo
School District 19 Superintendent Anne Cooper addresses the audience. David F. Rooney photo
First up were the little cuties from Revelstoke's pre-school programs. Urged on by parents they sang The Wheels on The Bus Go Round and Round and Eency Weency Spider as proud moms and dads snapped away on their cameras and cell phone cameras. David F. Rooney photo
Grade 2/3 students Paige McKenzie and Kaleigh Lowe of Columbia Park Elementary sang Love You Like a Love Song to the crowd. David F. Rooney photo
Caleb Gunther, a Grade 5 student from Mount Begbie Elementary, read William Blake's The Tyger. David F. Rooney photo
Mountain View Elementary's Hailey Hoyle-Christie (vocals), William McDonald (drums), Mackenzie Mallet (guitar) and Tetty Tetteh (keyboard) rocked the audience. David F. Rooney photo
After the children's performances a number of people, including Revelstoke Teachers Association President Jennifer Wolney, were invited to sign the Revelstoke Cjildren's Charter. David F. Rooney photo
Christy Shaw's Mountain Goodness Natural Foods was recognized as the city's Most Family Friendly Business for which she received a framed copy of the charter from Early Childhod Development Committee member Carolyn Duncan. Mountain Goodness was selected from a field of six local business that included: Castle Joe Books, Revelstoke Credit Union, Sangha Bean Cafe, Universal Footwear and Revelstoke Dental Centre. David F. Rooney photo
Revelstoke Credit Union, represented by Roberta Bobicki (right), was recognized as having the most Family-Friendly Workplace for which it received a framed copy of the Charter. The credit union was selected from a field of four businesses that included the Canadian Avalanche Centre, Parks Canada and the Canadian Pacific Railway. David F. Rooney photo
During the second half of the meeting ECD Coordinator Tracy Spannier, aided by that little-known songstress Anne Cooper, provided the audience with an overview of the community's progress in the realm of child development. David F. Rooney photo