The building blocks of every great neighbourhood are its citizens. We have been helping children brainstorm ideas for creating community change. We then encourage them to practice good citizenship by doing a special project.
We are working with the local police to create a kids' safety program that includes fingerprinting and safety advice.
Some children and families have adopted a local park / monument. They keep it clean and free of weeds; and water the plants flowers and trees.
We coordinate a story hour at the local library and read to younger children.
Each Christmas children and families set up a food or toy drive for a local shelter.
Exploring the neighbourhood and the people in it expands children's real-world knowledge and exposes them to new skills and tools. They discover all the people and places that make the neighbourhood a great place to live — and learn about the importance of cooperating and working together.
When you explore your community with your children, keep these tips in mind:
Focus on children's daily experiences. Discussions about the community are most meaningful when they center on children's everyday life. Begin by exploring the block your school or center is on or by talking about the places children go regularly.
Help children think about the people in the community. As you explore and discuss the places children know, talk together about all the people who work there. Guide children to think about how people cooperate to make the post office, school, and grocery store run.
Discuss difficult topics when they arise. Conversations about the neighbourhood may bring up sensitive subjects, such as homelessness, violence, or vandalism. Encourage children to discuss these topics, and allow them to share their ideas and feelings. As always, let children's experiences, interests, and questions guide the discussion.
It’s never too late to start.
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