The program, First Steps in Democracy, aims to instill and foster social behavioral skills based on humanistic and democratic values in kindergarten-age children. The children are introduced to concepts and values such as recognizing the right to equality, accepting those who are different and making fair agreements. They are encouraged to make independent decisions and to respect the choices of others. They learn how to integrate their inner emotional feelings with rational thinking in daily life and to cope with the contradictions that arise between their desires, needs and their rights as individuals and of being part of a group within the kindergarten. The program enables empowerment and the development of personal and social skills – the ability to express opinions and standpoints, development of flexible and creative thinking, and strengthening a sense of belonging and responsibility.
The program is modular in that it is introduced as a gradual educational process suited to the different stages of the child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. The program combines a dynamic, experiential and experimental learning process that utilizes arts and crafts, role-playing, music, storytelling and other age-appropriate activities. The diverse creative means used in the workshops enable all children to take part and to express themselves in the most suitable way according to their abilities.