We hope you will read emphasize to your children that children CAN make a difference in our world. Many children think of ways to raise money or awareness about important issues in our world. We suggest you read the book, Nights of the Pufflings by Bruce McMillan, which is one story that illustrates how children can make a difference in their community. It tells how children in Iceland help young puffins to safely make their way to the sea.
Talk to your children about ways they can help in your community. Involve families in this discussion, too. Often it is easier and faster for adults to just do chores or tasks themselves than to include children. But it is important to allow children to help. They want to do this! It often takes patience on our part but it teaches children the importance of helping others and gives them a sense of pride. Recently I watched as a parent took the time to explain to his four-year-old son how to roll the paint on a fence and then stood back while the child diligently did this. He cheerfully painted. Then he helped his dad clean up. He took great joy in telling the neighborhood how he painted the fence. I know his dad could have done the job quicker (and likely without as much mess), but he was teaching his son something important – the sense of accomplishment one gets by helping!
If you are a family member, make a list of ways you and your child can help your community. Get the mail for an elderly neighbor. Sweep the sidewalk for someone. Participate in community events like various “Runs for a Cause.” Your child can hand out water or snacks to participants. What else can be done?
Teachers can involve children in cleaning the playground, sorting books in a classroom library, or wiping tables. Children love to help! My own son came home crying from pre-school one day, as he was never asked to clean the tables. When I talked to his teacher she explained that he was always dressed so nicely that she didn’t want him to get dirty. But, soon he was thrilled when he became a table “cleaner.” We need to encourage and build on this natural desire to help others. It builds involved citizens!
NAEYC - 2. B.02, 2.B.06, 2.B.07.
Head Start -II.A., II. B., IV.C.