Children and Social Responsibility
I'm very excited to share this article featured in the MNAEYC-MNSACA Fall Newsletter. Children are amazing!
See the rest of the newsletter here.
Given the chance, children willingly participate in activities that promote learning and help them to understand the concept of social responsibility. As citizens of the world, we have a responsibility to each other to act in ways that benefit others – children included. At Casa de Corazón we have incorporated developmentally appropriate expectations for children’s involvement in the community into our lesson plans, giving children opportunities to participate and develop this important sense of responsibility.
There are many creative ways to incorporate activities into the curriculum. For example, we’ve created a week of curriculum about public service which takes place in May. During this week, children learn about different positions in our community. These roles include police officers, firefighters, snow removal workers, construction workers, and so many more! Children make thank-you notes for these members of the community and participate in visits from police and firefighters. The older children take a field trip to see the fire and police stations.
Recently our program hosted a book drive to support an organization that sends books to parts of the world where they aren’t readily available. We openly talked with children about the reasons for the book drive and how it was our way of helping. Children and parents were encouraged to bring in books that they were no longer using. We gathered over 600 books, which was an amazing and unexpected turnout!
Every day at Casa de Corazón children are given opportunities to develop empathy, responsibility, kindness, respect, awareness, and other fundamental elements of social responsibility. Twice a week there is also special time dedicated to explicit instruction on the topic, either through an activity or group reflection.
In the role of Curriculum Coordinator, I’ve been able to incorporate meaningful and exciting activities about social responsibility, like the activities mentioned above, into the curriculum. These activities help children begin to develop an understanding about society at large and their place in our world. By including these activities we’ve also experienced a fantastic and desired side effect – increased parent and community participation in our program. The wonderfully simple take away message: When children are given these social responsibility opportunities, they participate and do so with gusto.