When we want to organise the complex universes of children’s thoughts and activities, in order to understand them or to restrain them, we usually look at children through the spectacles of adulthood as we reach for various generalisations and wisdoms. What we typically see through these, when we want to identify the place of children in the community, are beings that require care and are only learning to live in society: beings that are not yet ready to participate in it.
We would like to suggest a different lens by which to look at children; ones that allows us to see them as active and empowered members of society. Children’s citizenship makes sense if we translate it into a language that entails the right to voice their opinions, the right to be present and to act, and the right to contribute to the development of a democratic community: e pluribus unum. It is worth the effort to act on any opportunity to facilitate this type of children’s inclusion.
This civic outlook, which links the Children Are Free to… activities, is to serve as a tool for throwing light on children’s perspectives in a city, which like a lens reflects the major processes of the present times. We also use this outlook to look at children’s coping strategies in a space that is often designed with a non child-friendly logic, to look at their daily guerrilla-like efforts in the urban jungle: their struggle to secure a place for themselves and their rights to the city. When we look at children, we see them not only as good and acquiescent citizens, but also in their wayward and disobedient guises: citizens whose mindsets provoke countless questions and lead to indefinite answers.
We do not want to invite children to a debate. What we do want is to encourage them to be active and to follow the trail of their (civic) imagination. Our activities will happen mainly in places that are familiar to them: in their neighbourhoods, and also in one of the municipal agorae: in Wolności (Freedom) Square.