Towards a pedagogy of participation? – Exploring children’s experiences in regional youth councils

  • Anu Alanko


This article approaches children’s participation in the context of regional youth councils in Finland.
Based on the survey data and thematic interviews of children aged 9 to 16, the aim is to deepen
the understanding on what children consider they are gaining from their membership in the councils.
For children, participation refers to their ability to express their own opinions and take part in
the decision-making, while being able to interact with their peers is regarded as equally important.
Regional youth councils are considered spaces for learning about the democratic culture, and the
actual skills and knowledge essential to act in it. Children note this as also being important for their
future lives. Based on children’s experiences, this article argues that to make participation arenas
more meaningful and effective for all participants, pedagogical perspectives should be strengthened.
In the final part of the article, some premises for the pedagogy of participation will be outlined.
Keywords: children, participation, regional youth council, pedagogy of participation