Starcatchers is one of many child-centred organisations in Scotland celebrating the landmark vote to pass the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Bill, and pledges continued work to amplify the voices of Scotland’s youngest children.
Yesterday’s vote demonstrates the national drive to ensure all children in Scotland can fully access their rights. Article 31 of the UNCRC sits at the heart of Starcatchers’ work and ensures that the youngest children can access high quality arts and cultural experiences freely.
Article 31 states: ‘States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.’
Starcatchers’ Chief Executive, Rhona Matheson, says: “As we celebrate this momentous event in Scotland, it’s vital to remember the necessity of arts and culture in the lives of our youngest citizens. 2021 is the year Starcatchers turns 15, and this milestone event in the organisation’s future is an opportunity for us to be ambitious in our role of advocate for early years in Scotland.”
Starcatchers is currently supporting partners, such as Children’s Parliament, Together Scotland and Children in Scotland, sharing their manifestos to ensure children’s rights are at the centre of policy and decision-making in Scotland.
It is through lived experience and communication that very young children can fulfil their rights, long before they can understand the language that describes them. The arts enables this self-expression.
“The role of Starcatchers is to ensure the voices of our babies and toddlers are heard,” Rhona says: “and to continue the call for embedding arts and creativity in early years learning environments across Scotland.”
<Image: by Sally Jubb, taken during Starcatchers’ Fruitmarket project. Image used for Making My Mark, Starcatchers’ 2019 campaign celebrating the role that arts and creative experiences can play in helping children learn about their rights during their earliest years.>