Community development

Learning democracy from children

Let´s learn democracy in families and communities through empowering the children - they are capable of living the true democracy if given trust and accepting responsibility in a democratic school.


Who is behind this?

Pavel Matejka

Zakladni skola CoLibri

Czech Republic

Who is joining forces?


Czech Republic


Czech Republic

Donum Felix

Czech Republic

Erazim, Safira, Ráj, There are 6 schools in different regions with the same mission (one leading) and partner for knowledge transfer.


Idea pitch

Living democracy in our schools positively influences children and their future but it also affects their parents and other very diverse members of our local communities. As our experience has shown, empowered children bring communities of free democratic schools including their families to sociocracy. We will spread the approach that has been proven effective: trust - democratic discussion - consent – responsibility through living, discussing and sharing the sense of democracy.

Where will your project idea take place?

CZ with civic deserts of Tišnovsko, Novojičínsko, Bruntálsko, Kokořínsko, Kroclov and Strakonicko.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The lack of civic dialogue and social capital can be found in the whole Czechia and is deep in the six target regions which we consider to be civic deserts. Citizens are often isolated in mutually hostile groups. The reason behind it is the mental heritage from the time of communism and in some cases even from the time of repopulating Sudeten with broken roots and relationships (in elections local people often vote non-democratic parties). Talking to them we usually find a deep mistrust in themselves and others and a consequent rejection of responsibility at all levels including the local community. This also is something they learned in the school. They do not believe they could influence anything. The lack of different educational opportunities is one of the conflicting local topics.

Who are you doing it for?

Parents and their children: parents are both the major obstacle for desirable changes in democratisation of education and at the same time the major opportunity for driving this democratisation change not only in schools but also in the local communities.
Other members of the local community including the municipality: by concrete projects we get in contact with six local authorities. We target the general public through a series of discussions, articles in media and other events.
We plan to directly influence 800 people in the local communities within our schools, 1600 directly through the discussions, workshops and open-door events in our schools which according to our knowledge generally results in 5000 people influenced indirectly.Articles will target lower tens of thousands readers.

How do you plan to get there?

The first pillar is our plan of capacity building among start up schools. Donum Felix, the project partner, is a well established democratic school which will provide the start up schools with the necessary knowledge and experience with focus on building respectful relationships and related democratic approaches and procedures.
The second pillar is based on opening our schools to local communities.
The third pillar is a mutual sharing of people, experience and knowledge with an outreach to a broader audience.Within these pillars we will use democratic procedures including conflict resolution, discussions, interactive lecturing, exchange of people, supervision and mentoring to achieve our goals.We plan to have 20 tandem meetings, supervisions, all partner meetings to transfer the know-how

What are the expected results?

Our 6 schools will be fully operational and at least 6 new startups will be initiated. We expect an increase of interest among children/parents to be enrolled in our democratic schools by at least 50%. We are confident that we will raise a general awareness about democratic schools and partly we will improve the approach of citizens towards democracy and its meaning within their community. As a result we expect an increase of volunteering within the targeted communities at least by 25%. It is hard to measure the awareness about democratic schools and democracy itself in the regions, but we are convinced to sow the first drops which will form a mighty democratic ocean. Other new initiatives and regions will be interested to learn from our experience which we will share broaderly.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We will increase engagement of local citizens through examples of democratic approach towards other people and demonstration of democratic procedures shown by children and adults from democratic schools. We engage local people in activities initiated by the local democratic school and expose them to its culture and practice which also is culture and practice of a healthy and supportive local community. According to our experiences this helps many people to overcome their routines and to start changing their mental models and practice related to accepting responsibility for themselves and their relationships (with themselves, with the others and consequently with the environment). Through a set of various events we will create a community better for living.

Why is this idea important to you?

After half a year of operation of the Donum Felix democratic school, the children came up with an idea of sociocratic decision making. They did not like the feeling to overvote somebody nor the feeling to be overvoted by majority, so they came up with a more non-violent democratic approach. Later on it was found in literature and identified as sociocracy. Children bring this approach to their families and their parents to their communities. The mutual learning for democracy can be extended to the local communities and to the whole society. We are very motivated as in our schools we can see that trust, non-violent communication and democratic procedures enable children to fully reach their human potential. Learning democracy from children contributes to this desirable global change.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel cost - 38700 EUR
Travel/accomodation/event place rental - 8800 EUR
Public relations 2500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Please,share your opinion about using democratic schools for promotion of democracy within local communities. We appreciate suggestions for further spread of democratic education in Europe-maybe you know some people interested in this kind of education in your community and you can link us together.



Vladimír Dobeš

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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