Researcher and CISVer Claudio Baraldi has edited a book on children’s participation, facilitation and mediation; here are some ideas taken from it.

The kids will work it out, let’s support them!

Research suggests that we should trust more in children’s abilities to actively and autonomously contribute to and participate in adult as well as children’s worlds. For this to happen, facilitation and mediation are of great importance because they create safe spaces where children and adults of different social and cultural backgrounds can play and live together.

Facilitation and mediation can have an important function in interactions involving children, as well as adults, as they amplify the opportunities for participation, choices and decisions.

Adults play an important role because children rely on the provision of an ‘opportunity space’ in which they can act.

In the last two decades, views of children’s agency – regarding their active contribution to the constitution of social relationships and the building of social structures – have changed radically.

For example, children can be involved in public decisions such as urban planning, thereby actively shaping their social environment. The main idea emerging here is that children are agents who can actively participate not only in their everyday relations with peers and adults, but also in the construction of society.

Prof. Claudio Baraldi has been working closely with CISV International in his research into peace education and youth. He is the editor (with Vittorio Iervese) of a book on empowering ways of working with children in intercultural situations. The book is called Participation, Facilitation, and Mediation: Children and Young People in Their Social Contexts, and is available from Routledge publishers here.