You say: "Dealings with children are tiresome." You’re right. You say: "Because we have to lower ourselves to their intellect. Lower, stoop, bend, crouch down." You are mistaken. It isn’t that which is so tiring. But because we have to reach up to their feelings. Reach up, stretch, stand on our tip-toes. As not to offend.
Janusz Korczak, Pedagogical Writings, 1929
A preschool in the spirit of Democratic Education emphasizes the child's personal development, independence and uniqueness, promoting his/her integration in the group of children and in society at large.
A democratic preschool advocates democratic values such as free choice and equality, acknowledging the differences between children. Furthermore, the teaching staff encourages children to discover and nurture their strengths. The staff teaches children to work together and cooperate, rather than compete with each other, to use dialogue (Katznelson, 2005) as their main communication tool, and to express their emotions. The staff reinforces a sense of belonging in the children through their involvement in shaping the school's agenda and activities.
The Institute for Democratic Education guides cities in their quest for the implementation of Democratic Education principles in preschools.
Read more in the program's two-page brochure
Paper: the art and practice of Democratic Education in Preschools
Preschoolers in the Education City
Educating Preschoolers in the spirit of Democratic Education
A preschool in the spirit of democratic education is more suited to the 21st century then traditional preschools, because it incorporates, in a balanced way, characteristics of support for the child’s individual development alongside social values and environmental awareness. A change in the urban school system should begin in the preschool system, and should be built on parallel levels that provide support for the individual, the peers, and the entire community/environment.
This document is a guide to making the urban system friendlier for the next generation – from the unique characteristics of a democratic preschool to the necessary steps for effecting a change in the urban space.