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Ideas for helping children discover democracy

1 March 2022

Categories: Column

Democracy doesn’t just concern grown-ups. It also affects children’s everyday lives, whether at school, at home or in the community. The earlier they learn about democracy, the sooner they can actively engage with it. How can parents stimulate their children’s interest in democracy? Here are a few ideas!

Exploring your community

Pointing out examples of government at work in your community is a great way to get your children interested in democracy. Set out to explore some examples near you. Visit the library, the post office, a park or a museum. Then work together to figure out which level of government (municipal, provincial or federal) provides the service.

Experiencing democracy at school

Student councils give young people a chance to experience democracy in action. By electing representatives, students learn about the electoral process and engage with projects that make a difference in their community. Talk to your children about student councils. Does their school have one of these democratically elected bodies? What role does it play? What projects is it working on?

If an elementary or secondary school wants to set up a student council, Vox populi : Ta démocratie à l’école! is there to help. The program is offered jointly by Élections Québec, the Assemblée nationale du Québec and the Fondation Jean-Charles-Bonenfant.

Starting a discussion at home

In a democracy, ideas and opinions should be debated with openness, tolerance and respect. Talk with your children about issues that affect society (health, education, the environment, poverty, etc.) and encourage them to express their thoughts and develop their critical thinking skills.

Participating in the democratic process also means getting involved in your community. Are you a member of a parent committee? Do you volunteer with an organization or in your community? Talk about these efforts with your children. You’ll be a role model and they’ll see what it’s like to get involved in a project or a cause!