Encourage children to work on a definition of "community helper." This will be a work in progress, constantly changing as children meet or learn about community helpers. Check each community helper against the definition. (As the number of community helpers examined increases, the definition will become more generalized.)
Children are often introduced to community helpers with firefighters, police officers, mail carriers, doctors, and so on. That list expands with experience and with language. Finer distinctions are made and whole new areas open up. Encourage children to share their meetings and interactions with community helpers and add their jobs to the list. Don't forget to include: librarians, EMTs, paramedics, teachers, bus drivers, snow "plowers," crossing guards, bakers, grocers, plumbers, volunteers in all areas The list may never end.
Just a note: make certain to use non-sexist terms when introducing people and their jobs. Even very young children remember and adopt the language they hear.
And don't forget to share some books about community helpers. The collection is huge. Here are just a few.
Find more activities for early childhood classrooms in these archives:
Sue LaBella, Education World's early childhood editor, is a former teacher who loves writing activities and poems for young children. She lives in Connecticut with her family and her bulldog named Daisy.
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Activities by Sue LaBella
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