"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried"
Even with all the limitations of democracy, I introduce my students to democratic decision-making as early as possible. It is important to me that students see their classroom as a community within larger communities, i.e. school, city, and country. They also need to understand that a teacher is a leading member of that community whose authority can and should be questioned! In order to develop a sense of their community, students need to be involved in making decisions for their class community, and they need to take on responsibilities for their community. Here are some of the democracy-based practices I have used in my classroom: solution finding through class meetings, elections, voting, and committee-forming. Obviously, these practices have to be introduced in an age-appropriate manner, and I carefully plan my lessons with this in mind.