Thursday, April 19, 2012

Community Helpers Unit

This post has been a long time in the making, but I'm finally getting around to sharing it. Just to illustrate how long ago this all happened, take note of the snow on the ground. Oh well!

Thanks to the help of the home daycare and preschool that my friend runs, we were able to capitalize on some neat events for our Community Helpers Week. It's so important for kids to develop an understanding of their community and their role within it because it not only helps kids to develop a sense of belonging, it also creates a sense of citizenship and ownership at an early age. Hopefully, if they understand their community early in their lives, they will become interested in involving themselves and supporting their communities later on.

We were visited by a real police officer from our town, who talked to the kids about some basic safety guidelines pertinent to kids. 

After his discussion, he gave each child their own badge.

We even got to check out his cruiser!

As a math activity, we used a bunch of construction paper shapes to create our own vehicles that we would see in the community.

We wound up with a fire truck and a delivery van. I see the resemblance, don't you?
We were visited by our local postal service worker, who was kind enough to give the kids post office workbooks (which had some great coloring pages and activities about the different states in the U.S.). We even got to take a tour of her delivery truck!
Our town was also nice enough to send over a real firefighter and fire truck for us to see. The firefighter talked to the kids about fire safety and then put on all her gear so the kids could see how she looked very different in her flame retardant clothing. She encouraged the children to touch the clothing and hold the helmet and mask to help them understand what they were. The oxygen mask was a bit scary for many of the younger children- especially since it makes the very same noise that Darth Vader's mask does- so it was very helpful for the kids to see each step of the suiting up process, and that the firefighter was still the same person in, and out, of her uniform.

We were even allowed to pretend to drive the truck!
There are about a million extension activities to use with a community helpers unit, but to be honest, we didn't do very many of them. We found that just going to our friend's preschool four days in a row was exhausting. (Remember, we aren't used to leaving the house each morning like that. I don't know how working moms can do it, but I'm terribly impressed!) So we stayed away from many of the activities we could have done, choosing instead to work on those another year. We read a few stories we had on hand, and revisited our Five in a Row unit on Lentil for the town life aspects of it. If you'd like to see some of the ideas I've collected to use in future community helpers units, check out my Pinterest board here.

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