Universal Children’s Day is coming up in November. It is a celebration of children’s rights and well-being that will involve POP-UP Festivals focusing on emotional well being of children around the world. As facilitators gear up to create POP-UP Festivals for 250,000 children and adults in 130 countries around the world, three volunteers they told us what they loved about the event last year, and what they’re looking forward to, and why this event matters.
Paulina Olsson is Chief Marketing Officer for Peppy Pals, a game and publishing company focusing on teaching children emotional intelligence based in Stockholm, Sweden.
She is focused on making the events both fun and educational for kids. “Regardless of nationality or religion, Universal Children’s Day and the POP-UP Festivals offer each of us inspirational conversation starters about children’s rights and well-being. It’s a wonderful event that anyone can join, and foremost an important celebration towards our goal to build a future in which learning through play empowers children to reach their fullest potential.”
Universal Children’s Day dovetails with Peppy Pals’goal, which is to teach children life-changing lessons about empathy, emotions and problem-solving. Paulina says,
“This year, we’re sponsoring the event with playful EQ-activities that will go in the POP-UP Festival toolkit. These are mostly focused on strengthening children’s self-awareness, relationship skills and growth mindset. By engaging our international network we will increase the awareness around UN Children’s Day and reach more children across the globe.”
What is Paulina looking forward to the most about Universal Children’s Day?
“Seeing people share pictures, movies and ideas from the different “POP-UPS” in different countries is amazing. It’s a true inspiration, and a huge motivation to pursue our mission of creating playful learning opportunities on EQ to prevent bullying an exclusion worldwide.”
She feels Universal Children’s Day is important because it can remind us that there is more to learning than academics. Emotions count, too.
“While classroom education continues to focus on academics, there is a little-to-no emphasis on healthy emotional development in an era where we need it more than ever before. We have to realize that we all have a responsibility to respect and support children’s rights and well-being. This event, leading up to the celebration of the UN Children’s Day, is a way of showing that, while equipping our children with skills that will benefit our communities and society for a lifetime.”
Yoshi Newman is an Educational Psychologist. For 16 years she counselled stressed out college students at a competitive university. She found using EQ calmed them down, and allowed them to get a handle on their anxiety. When she heard Six Seconds was creating a worldwide EQ event for Universal Children’s Day, she dove in, helping plan the first events.
“About a year and a half ago I started substitute teaching in elementary schools, ages 4-8. It stretched me in ways I hadn’t been before, but I was also able to weave EQ into the classroom with these kids. I have grandchildren of my own, and I’ve talked to my children about that and practice EQ with my grandchildren.”
Yoshi has worked with children in the U.S and the UAE, always including emotional intelligence in her work. She says, “In my view, every day is Universal Children’s Day. These are tools we can learn and they can become part of what we do and how we do what we do.”
Now that the program is in its second year, she is even more excited to participate. The potential to reach large numbers of children worldwide is exciting.
“It’s important, it’s fun, and everything is free. If we have a lot of other people doing that, it just spreads and spreads. Each person who attends has a set of tools that they can continue to implement in their family, community, school, workplace, synagogue; whatever community their involved with.
I recently got to do a presentation on EQ for some girl scouts for a STEM education day. I gave them some practical tools and background so they had some understanding of what EQ is. I targeted it to the chaperones so they could use empathy as leaders of youth.”
Why does Universal Children’s Day feel so important right now?
“Given the current climate, I am just compelled to reach out to people so we don’t get draw into negativity, cynicism and harsher rhetoric in the public discourse. While many of us don’t like what’s happening, it could be a real springboard to changing things in a way that we all need to change the world to be better for children and better for everyone. The really tangible thing that always motivates me is when I’m working with children. When you look in their eyes, you just have to love them.”
Dr Art Trejo is a consultant to the aerospace industry, and also loves to work with students. He has used his training in emotional intelligence in his motivational speaking to inspire Hispanic students to achieve higher education goals, and also to better communicate with his son, who has autism spectrum.
For Dr. Trejo, the importance of Universal Children’s Day is, “We honor the future of this world, the children. It is a privilege to continue the tradition to celebrate this day since it to ‘Stop Violence Against Children’ since it was established on 1954. I do believe that no children in this world should suffer any violence. I do hope that by having these talks / presentations, we make more individuals aware of these situations and promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.”
Art is planning to have a session in English and in Spanish where he will be presenting the materials that he is translating to spread the word and to increase awareness. “Since we are including the Emotions, people will understand the importance of Emotional Intelligence and these skills will improve their wellbeing.”
Having done the festival last year, what is he looking forward to most? Art replies,
“Interacting with the participants. Since this activity is interactive and full of activities where the participants contribute to the knowledge and awareness. In addition, the participants will help in increase my knowledge since I will be learning from the community and will create bonds among the participants.”
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