Events and initiatives launched to mark World Children's Day

The Children's Ombudsman is celebrating World Children's Day by live streaming a series of inspiring stories from young people under the hashtag #ChildTalks2018.

The event at Dublin City Hall goes live at 11am on Facebook and at www.oco.ie.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said it was about celebrating children by hearing their voices and promoting their rights.

“Having worked with these young people for a number of weeks in preparation for today, I know that we are in for some really inspiring and thought provoking stories," he said.

"As always, I am astounded by the abilities of young people and their inherent sense of fairness.

“The topics being explored by young people today include equality, the travelling community, sexuality, disability, access to information, privacy, education and developing talent.

“Children should be at the forefront of our minds as decision makers, and as a society, every day of the year. However, on World Children’s day we have a special opportunity to promote children’s rights and to celebrate the uniqueness of young people.

World Children's Day coincides with the 30th anniversary of the ISPCC's Childline service.

The national listening service is celebrating three decades of supporting children with a brand new interactive website which will be launched today.

The service answers almost 400,000 contacts every year and its CEO John Church believes their online changes will make it easier for young people to get in touch.

Meanwhile, Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has launched the country's first ever dedicated research centre for early childhood.

The Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC) at DCU's Institute of Education aims to make Ireland a world leader in the field.

It is being run by international expert, Professor Mathias Urban, who says we have to ask what experiences we want our children to have now and in the future.

"Early childhood education is important, beneficial, and, if organised well, highly effective," he said.

It is important that we understand what are the real experiences of all children and families in early childhood settings and beyond.

"We need to address questions such as what experiences do we as society want them to have now and in the future? What kind of services can and should we provide, locally and nationally, to value our collective responsibility to care for and educate young children and who should provide them?”

Speaking at the launch, Minister Zappone said that early learning and care has come a long way in the last ten years.

"The establishment of the Early Childhood Research Centre and the appointment of a Chair in Early Childhood Education are very welcome developments," she said.

"Professor Urban is a renowned leader in this field and I commend DCU for making this appointment. I look forward to the valuable work being undertaken here to help further inform policies which will deliver for generations of Irish families to come."

Digital Desk

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