Participation in Kindergarten



Prof. Dr. Raingard Knauer
E-Mail: raingard.knauer (at) fh-kiel (dot) de

Rüdiger Hansen
E-Mail: r.hansen (at) partizipation-und-bildung (dot) de

Participation is the key to education and democracy

Child participation is a central factor in the overall pedagogical quality of a child daycare facility. All children have equal rights to participation; therefore, adults have the obligation to ensure these rights. Participation is key to a successful educational process and is as an act of “learning democracy” in its original sense an important educational issue within child daycare facilities:

  • Education understood as process of appropriation is not possible without involving children as active agents within this process. Successful educational policies require children’s participation.
  • Democratic education by means of participatory democratic practice is a path of learning that begins at birth and takes on a new quality when children enter daycare as an institutional setting within the public domain for the first time.

Participation has been an issue in many German child daycare facilities for some time now. But not only everyday practice at the centers differs greatly, there are still diverging views concerning the approach to participatory pedagogical practice in child care settings as well. Child care professionals as do mothers and fathers need to have the courage and the sensitization for the necessity of but also the vast opportunities offered by child participation in order to fully commit themselves to giving up some of their power in planning and decision-making structures to children. Although child care professionals are cognizant of the importance of children’s participation and are willing to encourage actual involvement of children in decision-making processes, they still quite often lack specific methodical knowledge needed to provide children with genuine opportunities to make their own choices and decisions on matters affecting them.

The Institute for Participation and Education can provide support in the following areas:

  • Examination and expansion of the scope of preexisting child participation practice within daycare facilities
  • Development of appropriate professional practice concepts for individual daycare centers
  • Staff training in participatory practice
  • Design and analysis of pilot projects on child participation and education