What does it mean to be a helper?
Helpfulness is an important part of good social development, and there are many excellent ways for children to practice being helpful — from putting toys back on the shelf to collecting food for neighbors in need.
We can also introduce kids to the many grown-ups who work to make life better for others.
Throughout September, Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool® does just that with our upcoming Community Helpers lesson theme. Learning about Community Helpers offers lots of benefits for kids:
- Promotes safety by teaching kids how to ask for help, and just as importantly, who to ask.
- Inspires interest in possible careers. When children meet the people who keep our communities safe, clean and orderly, they’re also learning about lots of different exciting jobs.
- Encourage interest in one’s own community. We can help our Community Helpers by not littering, driving safely and practicing other good habits.
Who Are Our Community Helpers?
Community Helpers are everywhere! Throughout our communities — at home, at school, at the library or the store — we meet hard-working men and women who make our lives easier every day.
- Those who help us learn exciting new things: Teachers and librarians
- Those who keep us safe: Police officers, firefighters and emergency workers
- Those who provide our food: Farmers, chefs and cooks
- Those who help us stay healthy: Doctors, dentists and nurses
- Those who keep our communities clean: Custodians, garbage and recycling collectors
- Those who help us while traveling: Road construction workers, crossing guards, snowplow drivers and transit drivers
- Those who help us at home: Construction workers who build our homes, utility workers, plumbers who make repairs and delivery people who bring us mail and packages
- Those who care for animals: Veterinarians and game wardens
Recognizing Community Helpers
Because we see Community Helpers in so many places, it’s easy to teach your child about them throughout your daily routine.
- Point out the different jobs people are doing in public places. When your child goes to the store with you, identify the store clerks who help us find and pay for the things we buy. If there is a security guard on duty, explain how that’s the person we talk to if we have a problem — such as getting lost.
- Recognize the uniforms some of our Helpers wear. Clothesline Clues to the Jobs People Do is a colorful picture book that introduces children to the special uniforms some of our Community Helpers wear. Examples include a delivery person’s uniform or a chef’s apron.
- Identify the vehicles used by some Community Helpers. Lots of people drive special vehicles because of the jobs they do. These include police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, delivery vehicles and semi-trucks, busses and other transit vehicles. There are lots of excellent books about Community Helper vehicles that will help your child recognize them.
Interacting with Community Helpers
Talk to your child about how to interact with Community Helpers. Many of them are trusted adults who can help your child at times when Mom and Dad aren’t around. Storybooks, role-playing with dolls and other age-appropriate activities can help with this.
- Teach your child who to talk to if they get lost in a public place. Examples include a uniformed security officer, the clerk at a store or the receptionist in a hotel or office building.
- Make sure your child learns your actual name besides just “Mom” or “Dad.” If you and your child get separated, that will make it easier to page you to come to find them.
- Once your child is old enough to use a phone, teach them how to call for help in an emergency, such as a fire or severe injury. Go over the questions a dispatcher will have and how to answer them.
- Help your child learn to describe how he or she feels during doctor visits.
- When visiting a library or store, let your child practice asking for help finding an item they’re looking for.
By getting to know our Community Helpers, children get inspired by those who work to make our world a better place to live.
If you want to learn more about all of our exciting lesson themes at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse®, contact a location near you today!
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