The participation for us is a tool for support children becoming citizens, to raise skills for implementing their own ideas and to encourage self-confidence.
We develop child participation school based programs with 3 steps: 1) citizenship education with participatory and interactive learning methodology. 2) safe space for generating and growing children ideas. 3) child advocacy.
What do we do:
Development of school programs for pupils’ participation – shaping the school based on the ideas of children. As an added value to the citizenship education and skills that kids build, the participation is a method for engagement of both pupils and parents in the school community. In addition it builds on personal responsibility and increases the interest of both children and parents to school attendance. Child participation in school life is not only a tool for self-governance, but also for raising skills of active citizens.
Child participation in decisions of their concern and in policy making is one of the contemporary trends in public policies. It started in San Paolo, Brazil and has been piloted in Scotland and Wells. No one has doubts kids have competencies when it comes to playgrounds, safety in town, green area, and actually many other topics. Their vision for the development of the town matters. On the other perspective, every third who votes is a parent. The engagement of children, thus to their parents raises the transparency of the public administration, its accountability and the connections with the community.
Participatory budgeting with children: the budget is a tool for public policy implementation and for development of the city. We have no doubts children have word to say about the community they live in. The participatory budgeting not necessary requests new funding, it’s more about to ask about the funds allocated. A comfortable area is the one that matches with the needs of its members. Children who create ideas and stand for it are happier and are becoming responsible citizens.
How “the Small steps” are different:
- We believe the participation of every child matters. We don’t limit it to a small group, a school council or to a youth parliament.
- We go where children are – at school.
- We create a space where every child feels comfortable, interested and safe to say Her/His opinion.
- We help children to be part and experience the actual decision-making process. Not just stay consulted.