A Reflection on what Shaking the Movers Unique: A Class Discussion
One class of students at King's University College involved in this project explored four key aspects of what makes the Shaking the Movers model unique...
Children & Choice
Shaking the Movers (STM) actively works to “hold an ethical space for children’s participation” (Caputo 9-10). Rather than invite children into an adult-led space where the workshop revolves around the ‘expertise’ of adults, the Landon Pearson Centre designed their workshops to enable children to “have the floor to present their unique perspectives and experiences” (“Shaking the Movers”). This translates to a transfer of power where adults relinquish their control of the process and creates space for children to lead the workshop and focus on topics most relevant to their interests. This provides meaningful opportunities for children to share their ideas and choose how they want to engage with the chosen child rights theme of the workshop. The children focus on this theme for the duration of the child-led workshop, then pick next year’s workshop topic. “At the conclusion of each two-day STM workshop, participants select an Article of the UNCRC or a theme that becomes the focus for the following year’s workshops” (Caputo 14). By creating the space for children to choose where they want to take the workshop and how they want to share their ideas, STM has the unique opportunity to truly understand what children think about these topics.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
STM is also unique in its approach to working with children because the workshops take a rights-based approach that is entrenched in Canada’s promises from the UNCRC. “Created by the Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights at Carleton University in 2007, it is the only youth-centred participatory model in Canada that uses a rights-based framework grounded in the Guiding Principles and Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)” (Caputo 2). The connection of STM to the UNCRC ensures that the work being conducted adheres to the promises made by Canada as outlined in the UNCRC and helps center the workshops around children’s rights.
A Focus on Change
Not only does STM make space for children to have meaningful participation opportunities within the workshop, it also ensures that what is created in the workshop is taken beyond the session and put into the hands of Canadian decision makers or ‘movers’. Once the workshop is complete “the results from the consultation are collated in the young peoples’ own words into a final report that is distributed widely to ‘shake the movers’” (Pearson and Collins 6). STM’s workshops are unique because they focus on implementation. “It is a model designed to include aspects of both consultation and collaboration but goes one step further to action” (Caputo 16). Focusing on the change ensures that STM creates meaningful forms of participation that lead to an amplification of children’s voices and ideas that go beyond tokenistic efforts for children to ‘get involved’ and instead holds adults accountable to what children are asking of them.
Rather than being run solely by adults, STM “is an annual youth-driven and youth-led workshop” (“Shaking the Movers”). While it is youth led, the focus is on the voices and ideas of children, “the model does not prioritize adult agendas; rather, it transfers power to children” (Caputo 15). This creates space for children to share their voices and connect with youth, making STM truly unique. “The creative and collaborative STM space enables these connections and reflections to flourish by transferring power to children and young people and consistently positioning them as the ones who lead ‘movers’” (Caputo 16).