Ideas for a Unit on Helping in the Community
What is a Community Helpers Unit
Every preschool child needs a community helpers unit. This is how they learned about the jobs of the people in their community. By learning this, children can see that everyone has a role to play and an important function. This helps them to reflect on their own roles. It's important for students to understand that every person plays an important role.
This particular community helpers unit focuses on charity within the community. Students will not only learn about various jobs within the community but will also teach them the gift of giving. They may even learn not to take their own lives for granted as they see the misfortune of others.
Charity in the Community
Begin this unit by talking with students about the times when they may have felt they lacked something. Some way to bring this up may be by asking the following questions.
- Have you wanted something from the store and your parents told you that they couldn't afford that right now?
- Have you wanted to go to the ice cream man and been unable to do so?
- Have you wanted to purchase something for someone else and not been able to do so?
Discuss how money ha an impact on times like the ones listed above. Then, ask the children what happens at home when they are hungry. How would they feel if there was nothing to eat at all? Talk about how this happens in some families. Now talk with children about how some places exist simply to help others who cannot help themselves. Talk about various places such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
Call the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen and schedule a visit. To make this lesson more valuable, ask if there is a way the students can get some hands on experience in helping others. Aside from the experience they may have at the soup kitchen, ask students to gather some canned foods from home to bring to the kitchen. Send home the permission slip for children to give to their parents. In the slot where you would normally fill out the cost of attendance in cash form, instead write "1 can soup" or something similar. Talk with students to get ideas of what they can donate to help others.
Take students on a field trip to the soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Allow them to do some hands on activities. When the students return to school, discuss the trip with them and ask them what they learned. Do they have any new appreciation for their own homes? Ask children to draw a picture based on their experience at the kitchen. Mail the picture and a card of thanks to the kitchen for allowing them to visit and help.
Another way to really reinforce goodwill is to ask children to come up with ways that they can help in the community. By encouraging students to come up with a class project they can do to help the community, your students will be on their way to being life-long community helpers themselves!