London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Children in kindergarten - a possibility to participate in democracy?

Author(s) Helle Kjcrulff  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2001  
Editor Alistair Ross Learning for a Democratic Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Comments: Over the last twenty years in Denmark there has been much discussion about participation and democracy as important elements in the pedagogical debate. Many experiments and tests have taken place in institutions in our country: this paper focuses on a project aimed at investigating possibilities for young children to participate as ?citizens? in their kindergartens. The project was carried out with the cooperation of the Danish Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the Social Ministry . The observations reported on in this paper was carried out in a kindergarten in Copenhagen, where the intention was to build a kindergarten where children have a right to make their own choices to turn the pedagogical view from the adult perspective to that of the child. Previously the adults had made all decisions for the children. The arguments supporting this were: the adult had a responsibility for the children children are less competent than the adult children have less knowledge. Consequently it was argued that adults had to take charge of children?s needs and upbringing, and teach them ?real life? skills. It was held that as children grow older they ?automatically? become wiser, more reasonably and more competent, and therefore could be increasingly granted the right to have influence on their own lives.

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