Dimension I - Me and Others

With regard to citizenship education for children aged 8-12, children should start by understanding the relevance of their own identity and their feelings towards others. They will then learn about the relationship between the individual and the community (family, peer group, friends and wider community).

Therefore, any topic of citizenship education should start with an identity-based learning concept which integrates the biography and personal experience of the child. By starting with questions such as “Who am I? What is important to me? What is fair? What is just/ unjust? How do I want to be treated?” children may explore who they are and how they feel about themselves by understanding and defining their emotions, and, therefore, come to conclusions about their own identity.

Thus, it is evident that defining one’s identity and identifying one’s emotions are both important with regards to education for democratic citizenship, as these factors affect children in their interaction with their surroundings.

Exploring Emotions and Identities

Children who understand their own emotions and recognise their identity can develop capacities to interacting with others as a member of a group or as an individual. Self-confidence is a basis for respectful social commitment.

With regards to the topic Exploring Emotions and Identities, the focus is on the importance of provide children means to be aware of their emotions and those of the others; to develop the skills for dealing with uncomfortable feelings or negative emotions (i.e. frustration, anger) and the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward, which relates to other similar skills such as patience, impulse control, self-control and willpower, all of which are involved in self-regulation; to develop coping skills in situations of risk; to create positive socio-emotional awareness (such as listening, empathy).

Relationship and Conflict Resolution

The ability to reflect and acknowledge different attitudes and perceptions, opinions and interests of people in society forms the basis of democratic decision-making in pluralistic societies. The concept of conflict resolution should be built on raising awareness appropriately, from interpersonal relations to group interactions.

The topic Conflict Resolution provides training on resolving conflict, which arises from an individual emotional level towards a communicative/collaborative process between two or more people. These exchanges involve an understanding of the other person’s point of view, learning more about this person’s or group‘s perspective, as well as motivations and finding peaceful solutions for all implicated parties.

Children’s Rights

Every decision that has influence on children should consider the interest and well-being of children, which includes: (i) protection (all children and youth have the same rights; the child‘s best interests must be the main consideration), (ii) participation (children and youth have the right to be involved in an appropriate way in all matters that directly concern them and should therefore express their views and beliefs), and (iii) provision (the right of children to life and survival, livelihood security and development opportunities).

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The project ENGAGE has been funded with support from the EU-ERASMUS+ programme |2014-1-FR01-KA200-008747|. This publication reflects the views of the authors only and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.