There’s nothing quite like the conversations you’ll overhear on a typical day at Kidizens. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the spirited exchanges occurring between kids who are no more than 11 years old. With alarming ease, these children discuss governance and policy issues and various other advanced topics that still confound many a well-seasoned adult. Though the content of their conversations is surely impressive, what leaves a lasting impression is that these complex issues are being discussed with incredible confidence.
At Kidizens, our programs are designed to create an environment in which children are able to effectively develop confidence through learning, practicing, and participating.
As the kidizens build their cities, they are responsible for so much more than the physical construction of their LEGO metropolises. Whilst navigating through their LEGO city life and council meetings with issues such as taxes and zoning laws on the agenda, they gain an in depth understanding of the more nuanced, real-life complexities of civic responsibility. The empowerment that knowledge brings and the sense of responsibility derived from their involvement becomes evident in the ways in which they start voicing their opinions on how best to govern their cities. Confidence builds naturally as they progress through the program and become more engaged stakeholders in their cities over time.
Throughout the program, there are constant opportunities for confidence to be built gradually through several different activities. Children are tasked with drafting proposals, voting on laws and amendments and writing campaign speeches, and are given many opportunities to practice and test out their ideas before presenting to the group. As they collaborate with their groups and communicate between the cities that they have built, they develop genuine opinions about the direction their cities are headed. It quickly becomes clear to the kidizens that in order to build their city in a way they agree with, they have to make their voices heard.
The Kidizens environment is highly democratic. Since it necessitates teamwork and group decision making, it acts as an equalizer platform between children who are on the shyer side and children who are outspoken from the get-go. In order to handle the issues that arise in governing a city, those more inclined to speak out learn how to utilize their leadership skills to encourage the participation of others, rather than single-handedly taking the lead. They also need to learn to gain support of others in order to get elected or get their proposals passed. Confidence continues to grow as children come to understand that their role as citizens and policymakers is essential to the success of their cities.
Children are the leaders of tomorrow, and our future depends on them. Throughout their time at Kidizens, children achieve the sort of confidence that is essential to leadership. At Kidizens, we equip them with the tools they need to lead confidently, allowing them to exercise their confidence in a real-life setting and and we can’t wait to see the future that they build.