Children as actors for transforming society
 24 July - 30 July

Making children's participation work

The conference opens at 16:30 on July 24 and closes at 10:00 on July 30.

Target audience
Flyers / Information Sheets
Daily programme
The venue




Initiatives of Change, in partnership with Child to Child Trust, are proposing the first in a series of annual conferences on the important issues of improving and enhancing children’s participation. This interactive 5 day conference offers to learn, explore and share experiences and expertise in promoting responsive, ethical and sustainable participation.
Despite many years of promoting children’s participation, good practice is fragmented and unsustainable. There is a need to create a community of practice, to consolidate and share what we have learned. Most of all, we need to learn from children about their experiences.
This will be achieved through an exploration, by adults and children, of rights–based participation in all arenas of children’s lives. The conference format will facilitate the unpacking of crucial concepts, issues, practices and experiences of both children and those working with them. Engagement by the young participants will include running some of the dynamic spaces for discussions.
The conference will also include some approaches of Learning for Well-being  which is the process of fully engaging and expressing who we are as individuals within our common humanity in social, societal and environmental contexts. It inspires us to find ways for being our becoming – living in our present moment while developing, challenging and creating ourselves for the future

Target audience

This conference is designed for professionals and others working with and for children up to 18 and all those whom are committed to promoting children’s participation. Groups of young people with experience and expertise in participation will be present at the conference to share with the conference participants. Children of participants welcome.


  • Gerison Lansdown was the founder director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, and is now an international children’s rights consultant and advocate who has published and lectured widely on the subject of children’s rights. She was actively involved in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is an Honorary Fellow of UNICEF-UK, and Chair of the Child-to-Child Trust.

  • Victoria Barras: Association Montessori Internationale representative to UNESCO and the International network for a culture of non-violence and peace. Collaboration with UNESCO and accredited NGOs to promote a culture of peace. Member, Working group on education for all which organized a symposium at UNESCO. Its aims included advocacy in a shared voice about the importance of laying healthy foundations in young children’s lives, both in their families and communities, and showed a wide variety of concrete NGO examples of early childhood partnerships worldwide.

  • Christopher Clouder FRSA is the founding Director of the Botin Platform for Innovation in Education, based in Santander, which promotes social and emotional education and creative learning in schools across the world. In 1997 he co-founded the Alliance for Childhood, a global network of advocates for the quality of childhood, and is their International Coordinator. From 1990 to 2012, he was co-founding CEO of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education.

Seeing the world anew

This workshop will explore the concept of Contemplative Education. It will explore the Contemplative dimension of teaching and learning with particular reference to how the experience of wonder can inspire personal and social change.

How children take charge of their own and their community’s development. The Child to Child approach to participation

The workshop will explore the Child to Child approach, a rights-based approach, through which children work with other children and their communities to take charge of their own development. The workshop will take participants through the principles underlying the approach to its practice.

Children's republic – Children's participation

The workshop will explore various dimensions of teaching and learning with particular reference to the importance of relating to each individual as a unique person. Korczak believed that the educator needs to build a positive relationship with the students for meaningful learning to take place and to set the foundations for constructive dialogue.

How to work with all children both in and out of school

This workshop proposes to give participants both practice and theory to deploy educational activities for children in different contexts. This approach will be presented and explained connected to modern social pedagogical thinking.

Exploring our unique potential and patterns of learning, communicating and developing

Too often differences in ways of communicating and learning are causes of exclusion and viewed as problems to be resolved rather than as natural patterns of expression to be supported. In this interactive workshop, participants become aware of their core learning processes and then consider those of the children with whom they interact.

Innovation, creativity & renewing education

Dealing with the quality of education and the necessary reforms is difficult, complex and a somewhat painful task with much resistance. This workshop will reflect on the participants own schooling and develop imaginatively in discussions what would be the perfect school and then to measure that against the reality.

Healing story changing the way things are with storytelling as a pathway to peace for the child within; regardless of age

To engage your inner storyteller is awakening the listening, speaking and vision that transforms and heals. This workshop will be a great opportunity to expand your understanding of all the myriad ways storytelling is at work in the world.

Flyers / Information Sheets

Information sheetChild protection policyGuidelines for accompanying adults




All discussions and lectures of the conferences will be translated simultaneously (English, German, French). Simultaneous translations into other languages will be provided according to the needs of the audience.

Daily programme

Please find it here



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CATS - Children and Adults - Partners for Change?

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