A teaching resource developed by the Education Authority in partnership with the Belfast Healthy Cities project was launched at the ‘Children’s Places, Children’s Voices’ event in Belfast City Hall.
The event was organised by Belfast Healthy Cities, a World Health Organisation project in Northern Ireland, to give local children a voice on the development of child-friendly spaces. Children from across 11 primary schools presented their views on what makes a child-friendly space to a panel made up of councillors, planners and other statutory representatives.
The audience also featured teachers and school pupils from Greece as well as policy experts from the UK.
The Healthy Places, Healthy Children, Key Stage 2 Teaching Resource was piloted in 11 schools across Belfast and will be made available to all schools in Belfast from September 2016.
“In line with the NI Curriculum, the resource was designed as a creative process, engaging children in utilising learning and research to develop a concrete project,” said Carol Weatherall, School Improvement Officer at the Education Authority’s Belfast office.
“For the pilot schools, the project was to examine how an element of the local environment could be developed to work better for local people. The pupils presented their findings to the invited audience at Belfast City Hall.”
Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive Joan Devlin said it was important to give children their voice: “Children are very aware of what they want from a child-friendly and a safe environment and it is entirely appropriate that they presented their own views and priorities. City Hall was certainly noisy as over 250 local children made their voices heard. We will continue to work with schools and with young children as we strive to secure a city which meets the needs of all its citizens.”
The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma welcomed the event to Belfast.
“I want to congratulate the 11 schools who piloted the Healthy Places, Healthy Children Key Stage 2 Resource, and also the 3,000 children and families who took part in the Action Plan consultation,” she said.
“I believe it is essential that children and young people are given the opportunity to have a real and meaningful say in decisions that affect them. I particularly welcome the involvement of primary pupils, as the focus is often on older young people, with the views of younger children not taken into account.”
For further information on the Healthy Places, Healthy Children, Key Stage 2 Teaching Resource, please contact Carol Weatherall at the Education Authority’s Belfast office on 028 9056 4353.