Thursday, 16 September 2010

„Dream Citizen” – an educational programme on active citizenship for schools

Active Citizenship Foundation is reaching the end of a 2-year process of developing an educational package on active citizenship to be used in schools with children between 10 and 14 years old.

The „Dream Citizen” programme’s main aim is to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes of 10-14 years old children in relation to active citizenship in general, and by using the programme to change the school climate into an environment that nurtures democratic values and a respect for human rights.

The package has two distinct parts that support the running of the two phases of the program: in the foundation phase children acquire basic information, skills and values in relation to the different aspects of active citizenship. These activities are designed in a way that they can be run during regular class hours. Topics covered include: democracy, individual and collective identity, environmental sustainability, human rights, children’s rights, violence and conflict, responsibility, enterpreneurship, discrimination.
The other part of the package is the project phase, which consists of microprojects (activities that might take up half-a-day or a full day) through which children prepare a functioning mini-democracy. The microprojects intend to cover certain monumental aspects of a democracy-at-work: democratic foundations (constitution, symbols, elected decision-makers, currency), economy (enterprises, labour market, taxes), sustainability (environmental projects), civil society (setting up NGOs for different purposes), and justice (court to try those who offend the laws of the children’s democracy).
After the preparation is over, the children then operate their democracy with functioning businesses, NGOs, judicial events, etc. for one or several days, with members of the community, parents, etc. acting as „visitors arriving from other countries-democracies”.

The development process involved a group of experts and practicioners from different fields; and it also featured a testing phase in which teachers provided structured feedback from their real-life experiences from using the activities. During the summer a teacher training course was accredited and a group of teachers has been trained in the use of the package. They will also be the first ones to try the package in its entirety: their feedback will be used for the finalisation of the text of the package.

Enikő Pap, Active Citizenship Foundation (Hungary)