Community Helpers for Preschool

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  • 0:02 What Are Community Helpers?
  • 1:07 Cognitive Development…
  • 2:52 Motor Skills…
  • 4:16 Social Skills…
  • 5:02 Language Development…
  • 5:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teaching preschool students about community helpers connects them to their neighborhood and lets them see and practice these types of occupations. In this lesson, you'll explore ways to educate your preschoolers about these varied community workers.

What Are Community Helpers?

Teaching young children about community helpers is a popular unit, and for good reason. Preschoolers love to dress up and do what they see adults do. Community helpers can be defined as any professionals who aid in the overall well-being and health of the community. Think more broadly than doctors, nurses and police. Community helpers include construction workers, dentists, librarians, grocery store workers, and even teachers.

When instructing children in the preschool age group, educators often want to make it a mini-elementary school experience. While there is an emphasis on readiness for children before entering kindergarten, keep in mind that young children's bodies and brains are developing at an enormous rate. Because the brain learns by making connections, they learn and remember best when provided with rich experiences. Focus all units of learning on four strands of development: cognitive, motor, social/emotional and language. How does this look when teaching about community helpers? Let's find out.

Cognitive Development Activities

The cognitive realm of a preschooler refers to all the learning going on inside the brain. Because this is a time of rapid growth, that's a lot of stuff! The brain learns and remembers by making connections between brain cells, or neurons. Making connections happens just like it sounds: one remembered event has an association, or link, to a current event. Those two neurons reach out towards each other to create a bond, forming memory. To provide rich experiences for young children to remember, appeal to their natural likes and attractions. Let's go over a few things they love.

Kids love puzzles. Whether you buy them or make them, young children's minds are challenged and stimulated by trying to piece together shapes. Integrate your lesson on community helpers by using puzzles focused on helper occupations or common elements associated with these occupations. Start with fewer, bigger pieces and move on to more challenging puzzles as the children develop. Also, be sure to include floor puzzles; young children love getting down and dirty.

Another thing kids love are books. The fact that they can't decode words doesn't stop young children from enjoying books about community helpers. Exposure to print is an important pre-reading skill. Read books aloud and make them available for browsing. Choose books with bright pictures, labels and simple text.

Kids also love cooking. Whether real or pretend, cooking is fun to do and demonstrates the skills of one category of community helpers. It also incorporates cognitive skills, like measuring and spatial reasoning. Provide plenty of opportunities for preschoolers to cook; follow a recipe, put out play dough or just let them pretend with measuring cups at the sensory table.

Motor Skills Development Activities

When we talk about motor development for preschool, it is broken down into two realms: fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are as they sound: using fingers to pick up small objects. Gross motor skills, conversely, use large muscles, like arms and legs. Providing experiences for young children to use both these groups often is important to their growth and development.

You can have children use blocks and signs. Children use their muscles to build with blocks. Add street signs to your block area and children will naturally imagine they're construction workers or engineers.

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