If we were to conceptualise the Children’s Parliament as a space:
When children come into this space we want them to bring with them their knowledge of what it is like to be a child, their ideas and their opinions, and to be willing to voice and explore them.
When adults come into this space we want them to bring with them their facilitation skills, their commitment to listen to and welcome children’s opinions and a belief that children have a high degree of talent and ability. We also want adults to bring their memories of what it was like to be a child.
When children work together in this space they have the opportunity to take responsibility and work in self-directed groups. They also develop friendships and gain new insights into the diversity of children’s backgrounds, experiences, hopes and dreams.
When adults and children work together in this space they create something both rich and challenging. There is the opportunity to form relationships of mutual trust, respect and honesty, and there is huge potential for adults to learn and gain insights from children and vice versa.
Finally, in terms of describing our ethos and ways of working Children’s Parliament is not about advocating on children’s behalf, we believe children can advocate effectively for themselves if the right environment is created and support is in place. This is an initiative rich in learning for adults if they listen carefully. Our work is based on children having fun and engaging in projects and investigations in and across our themes which reflect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.