Listening to children & young people

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Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn

What is Participation?
Participation in children’s and youth work is listening to children & young people so that they can be involved in:
  • decision-making
  • planning
  • shaping
  • evaluating impact
especially in the things that affect them.

'Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously.' - Article 12: UN Convention of the Rights of The Child 1989.
Why should your church engage with Participation?
Because it:
  • enables children and young people to have a greater sense of ownership and belonging.
  • offers churches a different perspective and fresh ideas
  • offers the possibility of generations listening to each other and shaping a different future together.
  • helps all to feel valued for who they are and what they bring.
'Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.' - 1 Timothy 4:12
How can I engage with Participation?
There are endless creative and fun ways of listening to the voices of children and young people.

However, it is important that you choose age-appropriate resources that best suit those to whom you are listening.

For more information on having a participation training session for your children/youth leaders, ideas and resources contact our Children and Families Missioner, Sue Mitchell - Phone 0151 705 2167 or email
How to use the Participation Pack

Download our resource pack on participation for children & young people (see right).

• Look at the list of contents and choose a listening activity appropriate to the age or capabilities of your group.
• Let the children know that there are no right or wrong answers.
• Invite written or verbal responses.
• Allow the children to interpret the questions as they wish.
• It is more important to listen to what the children may say than to stick rigidly to the questions.
• Leaders may wish to use the materials with individuals or groups.
• Invite a leader, or young leader, to be a scribe, recording any responses for the Church Council.

Be creative

• Further response activities could be used if time allows: collages, drawing, painting, modelling, tape interviews, videos, creating an article for the parish magazine / website / newspaper.
• If you use videos or photographs, be aware of data protection issues and Safeguarding Children policies. Call the Diocesan Communications Team on 0151 705 2150 or Su Foster, Inter-diocesan Safeguarding Children Adviser on 01704 540 516, for advice.
• Let the children or young people play freely after discussion / response times. Use play dough, dressing up dolls, k-nex, lego etc.
• Observe and note the way the children explore and play.
• Don’t assume only young children want to play!
• Use background music to create a positive environment for play.

What happens next?

• Forward scribed / recorded feedback to your Church Council for their response.
• Send a copy to us at St James’ House to allow us to collate general feedback for the diocese.

Thank you.