Children’s participation in a social-political project conducted by adults: the Plenarinha in the Federal District

Etienne Baldez Louzada Barbosa Monique Aparecida Voltarelli About the authors

Abstract

Talking about children´s participation leads to different degrees and possibilities in which children would have their opinions taken into account and practice citizenship through processes started by adults or by the children themselves. Instead, there should be balanced power relations and partnership. Often, children´s participation is decoratively mentioned in projects that utilize the children´s speech only to reassert that children were involved in processes and had their voices heard. However, such illustration has to do only with the absence of children´s participation and the concepts around this complex process should be reassessed. Paying attention to that, this paper has sought to understand how small children participate in the Plenarinha (little plenary) in the Federal District as proposed by its Education Department. By means of a qualitative research utilizing documental analysis, the aim was to screen the official texts that had been published and the news stories appearing in the newspaper Correio Braziliense to check whether the program took the children´s voice into consideration when implementing changes in child education. Upon the analysis of the documents, it may be said that the program did not include the childhoods present in the child education´s institutions and, also, the program´s documents concealed how the processes of children´s participation took place. It is noted that the adult-centered perspective represents an obstacle to legitimate the children´s social action, as children have their competency compared to adult standards. This eventually makes this minority group invisible, as they have historically been marginalized from social participation.

Childhood participation; Plenarinha; Early childhood education

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