As an educator or parent, you witness the enthusiasm kids have to better the world around them. The Kid Governor® program harnesses that enthusiasm to encourage action through civic participation by illustrating how election work and demonstrating how people of all ages can choose to participate in our democratic society. The lessons inspire students to be lifelong agents of change, active participants in our government, and registered voters when they turn 18!
The program, which launched in Connecticut in 2015, was inspired in part by the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks and the idea of “taking informed action” as a way to help students learn civics. This pilot program shows students how they can use their understanding of community and government to take action locally. As the Frameworks state:
Civic engagement is one of the most essential tasks of social studies education. It is critically important that students… learn more about government at the national, state, and local levels. It is also important that student learn about their responsibilities as global citizens. It is equally important that students have the opportunity to “take informed action.” Students should not just learn about government; they should be encouraged to participate in democratic processes. Taking part in student government, model congresses, service projects, and classroom simulations are all ways that allow students to participate in civil society and not just to learn about how civil society works. It is possible, even at the elementary school level, for students to “make a difference” in society.
Kid Governor– both the program and the student winner– are vehicles for teaching students civic skills and community mindedness. As such, the goals of the program align with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools’ goals for 21st-century civic learning and citizenship.