Child and youth participation resource guide

Participation in programme areas



Berg, M.J. and D. C. Owens, Empowered Voices: A participatory action research curriculum for girls, Institute for Community Research, Hartford, CT, 2000.
This toolkit looks at achieving gender balance in schools by engaging girl students as researchers. It focuses on girls’ development, self-esteem, strengthening relationships and helping build critical thinking and problem solving skills in schools.

Borden, Rebecca, Taking School Design to Students, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, D.C., 2004.
This document contains information on why and how children should be involved in designing their schools. It shows that, given a chance, students can become active and efficient partners in the decision-making process by expressing excitement, ownership and pride in sharing their ideas.

Clay, Di, Key Stage One: Participation and school councils toolkit, School Councils UK.
This is a toolkit on establishing and running school councils. The website contains other resources on school councils.

Fletcher, Adam, Meaningful Student Involvement Resource Guide, The Freechild Project, Washington, USA, 2003.
This resource guide was developed to support the movement for Meaningful Student Involvement. This movement is calling for deliberate empowerment of the experiences, ideas and knowledge of students throughout education. This approach challenges educators to be truly democratic by engaging students in critical reflection for school change. The resources presented in this guide promote students as researchers, planners, teachers, evaluators, decision makers and advocates throughout education.

Fletcher, Adam, Meaningful Student Involvement: Guide to students as partners in school change, SoundOut.org and Human Links Foundation, 2005.
This guide is the first publication in a series that supports meaningful student involvement in school change. It includes information on the elements of meaningful student involvement, its benefits and various ways that students can get involved, and it explores students’ roles at various grade levels.

Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Penguin Books, Hammondsworth, UK, 1970.
This publication by one of the most influential thinkers in education of the 20th century is required reading for anyone who links education to social change.

John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, A Handbook for Supporting Community Youth Researchers, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (Y.E.L.L.) Curriculum, Stanford, CA, 2001.
This manual is intended for teachers to help train students to become active contributors in decision-making processes in their school. It contains lessons on different research methods, analytical tools and presentation skills that can be adapted by teachers in various contexts.

Johnson, Kaye, Children’s Voices: Pupil leadership in primary schools, National College for School Leadership, South Australia, 2004.
This research report focuses on understanding pupil participation, how it is enacted in schools and what abilities, attitudes and dispositions enable pupil participation. It also looks at what factors impede the creation of a culture of working in partnership with children in schools.

Marques, Elder C., Youth Involvement in Policy-Making: Lessons from Ontario school boards, Institute on Governance, Ottawa, 1999.
This document addresses the importance of involving students in school governance. It lists resources on student participation and provides a critical analysis of Canadian laws and the progress towards supporting active student involvement in school management. It contains practical suggestions for strengthening student participation in decision-making processes.

Midttun, K. Eldrid, Make Learning Relevant, Say Young People, Norwegian Refugee Council, 2005.
As thousands of Rwandans were killed or fled to neighbouring countries in 1994, the international community provided primary school education in exile camps and local communities. Surveys by the Norwegian Refugee Council found that young people wanted to learn but felt that education was not available and that subjects taught were not relevant. This report presents the children’s point of view on education, especially among displaced and refugee children.

Piran, Parviz, School Mayors of Iran: World’s youngest mayors learning social participation, Allameh Tabatabaie University and School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, no date.
School Mayors of Iran, a project involving over 1,000 middle school girls and boys, was designed, experimentally executed and researched by the author and sponsored by Tehran municipality. The paper gives details of the development and implementation of a project encouraging children’s active involvement in school management.

Rajani, Rakesh, The Participation Rights of Adolescents: A strategic approach, UNICEF, New York, 2001.
This is a resource for policy makers, programmers, advocates and activists interested in promoting the meaningful participation of young people at the global, country and community levels. The author argues that a development approach that emphasizes investing in young people’s assets and protective factors is more effective than focusing only on fixing young people’s problems. Section 5 of the report examines effective entry points for adolescent participation in schools and how it can be encouraged.

Save the Children, Having a Say: A young person’s guide to exclusion, Save the Children and Advisory Centre for Education, London, 2005.
This guide aims to help young pupils make informed choices after permanent exclusion from school. This refers to those whose voice often goes unheard at meetings with school governors, in appeal hearings and when decisions are made about a child’s future.

UNICEF, A Guideline for Assessing Child-Friendly Schools: Why, How, Processes and Outcomes, UNICEF, EAPRO, Bangkok, 2006.
These guidelines promote the understanding of the Child-Friendly Schools approach to creating child-friendly learning environments. The assessment tools make repeated reference to children’s participation and their civil rights in schools and in classrooms.
Email: eapro@unicef.org

Webb, Z., National Assessment of Student Involvement in School Policy-Making: Meeting Kentucky’s educational needs: proficiency, achievement gaps, and the potential of student involvement, Kentucky Education Department, Lexington, KY, 2002.
This research report studies student involvement in state-level education decision making in the US. It provides a comprehensive, state-by-state summary of student roles in school governance. It highlights the lack of capacities and knowledge in many schools to accommodate students’ inputs and concerns.