Stepping Back from ‘The Ladder’: Refl ections on a Model of Participatory Work with Children

  • Roger A. Hart

It is with some reticence that I write these comments on the ‘the ladder of children’s participation’ for this metaphor was introduced by me long ago in order to problematise an issue that now has a significant body of practice and critical reflection. But my colleagues, the editors of this volume, suggested that because the ladder is still used a great deal as a model it might be useful to stand back and make a few comments about the ways it has been interpreted. The ladder probably drew so much attention because when it was first published in Children’s Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship by UNICEF in 1992, there was very little written of a conceptual nature on the theme of children’s participation in their programmes, projects, or organisations. The book was simply meant to stimulate a dialogue on a theme that needed to be addressed critically. But many people have chosen to use the ladder as a comprehensive tool for measuring their work with children rather than as a jumping-off point for their own reflections.

Keywords participation, youth, children, models, citizenship


Comprehensive Tool Informal Participation Working Child Formal Participation Ladder Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger A. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Human Environments, Graduate CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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