Community Helpers for Kindergarten

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  • 0:00 What Are Community Helpers?
  • 1:08 Teaching About…
  • 3:19 Integrating Community Helpers
  • 5:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Expert Contributor
Jennifer Levitas

Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She's taught multiple college-level psychology courses and been published in several academic journals.

What's more fun for young children than acting like grown-ups? Teaching kindergarten students about community helpers is an important unit, and one all students will enjoy. So put on your fire hat, turn on the siren, and let's go have some fun!

What Are Community Helpers?

When you hear the words 'community helpers,' you may think of police, nurses, and mail deliverers. But when teaching about community helpers in kindergarten, think more broadly. A community helper can be defined as any person who helps with our health and overall well-being. Community helpers include dentists, doctors, construction workers, even grocery store workers! If you're thinking this includes most jobs, you're right! Many occupations do fall into this category.

To narrow the field in your planning, look for a few qualifiers. What professions are your students interested in? What are the prominent jobs in your community? What resources are available to you? If you live in Alaska, it may not be a great idea to study lifeguards. Rather, snow removal workers would be a great choice. Or, if your school is located near a library and bank, these may be fantastic community helpers to explore. Whichever community helpers you choose for your focus, make sure these role models are available in some way to be part of your lesson. There's nothing like the real thing to make learning authentic.

Teaching About Community Helpers

After choosing your focus, it's time to make a plan. Going on field trips and inviting guests to visit your room offer a lot of fun opportunities, but the majority of time will be spent in the classroom. Let's take a look at how you can teach about community helpers in both ways.

In the Classroom

  • Build a Center: Create a specific place to house and display materials related to your community helpers unit. Place a table in this area as well as shelves and decorations to make it visually appealing. Label the area to make your classroom rich in print.

  • Stock Up: Once you have a specific area dedicated to community helpers, stock it with books, puzzles, puppets, blocks, and any other materials you find with the theme.

  • Dress Up: Kindergarteners love to dress up and pretend. Make sure they have access to costumes. If your budget is limited, you can focus on inexpensive materials like an apron and notepad for a waitress or waiter, apron and white hat for a cook, or an over-the-shoulder bag and blue hat for a mail deliverer.

In the Field

  • Hit the Road: The best way to study community helpers is to see them in action. Plan a field trip to several spots, like the library, grocery store, and bank. Reach out to local organizations and ask for a tour or short talk at each stop. Prepare for the trip by studying the specific helpers you're going to visit, and make sure to include enough helpers to make the visits run smoothly. For extra connectedness to your classroom lessons, prepare a simple map of the neighborhood or area detailing the places you're going.

  • Bring It Home: To strengthen your unit, invite several community helpers to come speak to your students about their jobs. Parents are a great resource for this. You can plan to dedicate an afternoon to the event, or stagger your guest speakers out over a longer period of time. Review proper behavior expectations for your students beforehand, and model how to ask appropriate, thoughtful questions.

While going out to visit community helpers and having them visit you is a wonderful way to expose children to the theme, to be truly effective you need to integrate community helpers into your curriculum. Weaving it in is easy when you take it one subject at a time.

Integrating Community Helpers

Most kindergarten classrooms use work stations during literacy, which is a great time to offer activities to students centering on community helpers. Even if you don't, you can do the following activities as a whole group during the specific subject times.

Reading and Writing

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Additional Activities

Activities for Community Helpers

Activity 1:

For this activity, imagine that you are a kindergarten teacher. You want to expose your students to the many different types of careers, focusing on jobs in your area that are beneficial to the community. For example, if a person lives in a planned community, she may focus on the horticulturists who take care of the landscaping in the town. Think of three different jobs that could be construed as community helpers in your own town. List what they are, and why these particular jobs would be interesting to kindergarteners.

Activity 2:

Choose one of the community helper jobs you described above, or choose a new one. In two to three paragraphs, discuss how you would introduce the topic in the classroom and in the field. For example, if a teacher wanted to introduce the job of horticulturist to the class, she may have a center in the classroom with fake plants, fake soil, and a neighborhood layout. The children could experiment with placing the plants in different locations to see how they look. They could then take a field trip out to the town association who employs the horticulturists, who can talk to the children and take them outside and show the children what they do in their jobs.

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