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In the children’s panels that took place at the daycare centres, children created a stunning three-dimensional plan for a utility garden. Among trees and shrubs, children planted flowers and crafted insects and worms from clay.

Article categories: News

In the Children’s Panel, plans were devised for a utility garden and cultural offerings

Published: 15.5.2024

What kind of culture are children interested in, and what sort of utility garden would suit Kirkkosaari in Vähäkyrö? These and other questions were pondered by fifth and sixth graders and daycare children in the Vaasa Children’s Panels.

The Children’s Panel serves as a tool for the City of Vaasa to strengthen children’s opportunities for influence. The annual children’s panels were held this spring at Haga School and Tervajoki School, as well as in daycare centres in the Vähäkyrö area.

– The Children’s Panel is a platform for elementary school and daycare children to have their say. In the panel, questions related to the city’s projects are brought up in a dialogue with children and brainstormed with them, says Helena Alanen, Children’s Participation Coordinator.

Pupils shared cultural experiences and new ideas

In March, pupils had the opportunity to influence the city’s cultural education plan.

– Pupils were introduced to the Cultural Education Plan (KOPS) in advance and, through group work, designed KOPS posters in the style they would like to see them in. The posters featured quite a fascinating array of all kinds of topic, says Alanen.

Strong favourites emerged from the ideas of pupils from both schools, including dance and theatre in various forms, escape rooms, and different types of excursions to both nature and the city’s cultural sites.

Preschoolers and five-year-olds planned the utility garden

Daycare centres participating in the Children’s Panel included Tervajoki Daycare, Pikkuonni Daycare in Merikaarto, and Villi Länsi Daycare in the centre of Vähäkyrö.

– The children designed a wonderful utility garden that would bring joy to all city residents as well as bees and earthworms, describes Alanen.

The Children’s Panel session was implemented through functional methods and took 45 minutes. The children expressed their opinions through play, movement, art, and relaxation.

Planting fruit trees

Daycare groups participating in the Children’s Panel will see the concrete effects of their input in the autumn.

Preschoolers and first graders are invited to join the planting event for the utility garden at Kirkkosaari recreational area in Vähäkyrö. According to the children’s plan, at least one apple tree and two pear trees will be planted there.

In addition to these, the Green Area Team will plant more fruit trees and install birdhouses and insect hotels in the area.

Vaasa in the Child-Friendly Municipality Model

The City of Vaasa is part of UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Municipality Model. Children’s rights include the right for every child and young person to be heard and to have a say in matters concerning them.

How can children influence in Vaasa?

  • During Children’s Influence Day, fifth and sixth graders learn about the city’s decision-making process and various opportunities for influence. It is held annually in October-November.
  • Classes visit the City Hall’s Council Chamber in Vaasa, and during the visit, children can express their opinions on a current issue through workshops or surveys.
  • The Children’s Panel is a channel for elementary school and daycare children to influence, where various topics concerning the city’s different sectors can be discussed and debated by children.
  • The workshop takes place in the group’s own classroom/space and is led by a city employee and the group’s teacher.