Children learn about democracy in Beuel

Project of the youth farm Beuel
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Children build a small town in Bonn

In the summer of 2023, the Beuel youth center will be transformed into a creative planned city. In Mini-Beuel, the children rule – with their own currency and their own rules. They must learn to understand social and cultural contexts as well as democratic processes in a playful way.

After a two-year break, children and young people can once again look forward to a very special holiday experience in the summer of 2023: the children’s town of Mini-Beuel, where they can rule in a playful way – with their own currency, their own rules and different professions.

At the start of the one-week project at the youth farm, the children receive a citizen’s card on the spot. “You must take your passport photo with you. It also says on the ID card whether they have obtained a Kettcar driver’s license or have passed a graduate exam,” says Nina Winter, head of open work at the youth farm, who has already supported the project in the past. The children then go looking for jobs to the employment service. “There they can choose a job where they have to work for at least half an hour to get paid,” says Winter. With the currency, the so-called “Beulis”, they can then buy groceries, for example, or buy leisure activities.

The currency is Beulis

“The children can join the police or the newspaper, start a band or go to a craftsman’s company, where wooden signs or advertising posters are made for the individual companies,” says Thomas Schaaf from the Evangelical Church Community, which is helping to organize the Mini-Beuel project. Anyone who decides to become a baker prepares different delicacies in the morning in a team, which can then be bought for a few bucks in the afternoon. The pizzeria bakes diligently and there are also postmen who deliver letters to the businesses, reports Winter The mayor has been elected and presents the news at the citizens’ meeting that takes place every afternoon.

In a loudspeaker tower, music is played on the Mini-Beuel radio during the day, and occasionally radio programs are also played, which a small editorial team works on. “You can use the radio to advertise your business or send greetings,” says Winter. “And if a survey by the local opinion research institute shows that the children were dissatisfied with the pizzas from the Mini-Beuel pizzeria in one day, then news like this will be on the radio,” adds Schaaf. Incidentally, the only place parents can stay is the local parents’ garden – unless they have booked a tourist trip through the Mini-Beuel travel guides.

Understanding democratic processes

The aim of the project is for the participating children to learn to understand social and cultural contexts as well as democratic processes in a playful way, Winter explains. They can implement their own ideas and social concepts and experience the “adult world” shaped by work, money and consumption using a simple model. The focus is on the development of social skills in a community as well as the subjects of personal responsibility and self-efficacy. “The children must have the opportunity to realize themselves through participation: if someone has their own business idea, for example wants to be a fortune teller, then it is possible in Mini-Beuel,” explains Michael Schuster, social worker at Kleiner. Møgforening The project can take place every two years, it needs many people who support with monetary or material donations, emphasizes Kathrin Klevenhaus, who runs Haus Michael in Schwarzrheindorf.

Since 2009, the four sponsors – Bonn Youth Farm, the Catholic Youth Agency, the Protestant parish Nommensenkirche and the Kleiner Muck Association – have organized the joint event for children aged seven to 13. The venues are Ungdomsgården Holzlarer Weg, the football field across the street and the premises of Beuel’s evangelical parish. A collaboration with the event agency Fünfdrei is planned in 2023, which will provide logistical support for the project.

registration

Two project runs are planned for the first two weeks of the summer holidays: from 26 June to 30 June 2023 and from 3 July to 7 July 2023, where a total of 300 children and around 90 young helpers can participate in each. . Entries can be made online from 1 December at www.mini-beuel.de.

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