Sometimes teaching responsibility can feel a little overwhelming because it’s such a, well, responsible thing to do. Having a responsible child is a worthy pursuit and it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are four ways we’re teaching preschoolers responsibility at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, as well as some ideas to bring the lesson home.
1- Teaching Responsibility with Seeds
Gardeners and farmers are not the only ones who wonder at the magic of a seed. How incredible–you can just put that little guy into the the black soil, and with some water and sunshine, voila!
But these little plants are not the only things growing here! Our preschoolers are not only loving their turns to water the seeds, they are learning how to nurture and be responsible for the growth of their little baby seedlings, as well as protecting our natural resources by not overwatering.
As you can see by our successful sprouts, our preschoolers have enjoyed their watering responsibilities.
Plant a garden! Bring this lesson home by providing plant seeds at home and helping your preschooler cultivate a vegetable or flower garden.
If that’s too much, just give your child a pot and a seed and let them grow their plant in the house or on the back porch. Giving your child the responsibility of watering (with your guidance, of course) will give your child a sense of pride as they watch the fruit of their labors blossom or become tonight’s salad.
2-Teaching Responsibility through Recycling
During Earth Week, we spent some time learning about our beautiful earth and how is is our responsibility to take care of it. We sang about how we can reduce, reuse and recycle.
While reusing magazines and wood chips, we created our own paper and used it for our art projects the following week.
One of our preschoolers was so excited he exclaimed, “Now that I know how to make paper, I can make it all the time!”
Reduce, reuse and recycle starts at home. Have your child collect all those loud crinkly grocery sacks after shopping into a special bag or box and your “Royal Recycle Regent” can officially deposit the bags in your local grocery store bag drop. Don’t forget the fanfare!
Take it a step further and purchase reusable bags and let your preschooler help fold them and put them away after shopping, explaining how they are helping save the earth by reusing bags.
3-Teaching Responsibility with Animals
It took a lot of self control, but our kiddos mastered some responsibility by not touching our 4-day-old baby chicks because they were too little to be loved.
As the chicks got older, they cared for the chicks by making sure they had enough food and water and warmth from the heat lamp (and some gentle touches). We discussed how all babies need someone to be responsible for them. What would they do without a mommy or daddy to protect and provide for them?
We ventured further into the animal kingdom during zoo week. Zoo keepers need to be very responsible. What would happen to all those animals without a responsible zoo keeper?
Not ready to teach life lessons with a dog? As wonderful as pets are for teaching responsibility, not everyone is ready for that step. That’s okay! Your child can learn some life lessons in responsibility by taking on a pet insect.
A clear plastic cup and some dirt can be a great habitat for some worms, pill bugs, ants, or even a spider. Help your child think of what your “pet” needs to survive and create a mini-habitat for them. But remember, part of being responsible means allowing wild animals to live in the wild, so the responsible thing is to keep this pet temporarily. (Bonus!)
4-Teaching Responsibility with Safety
Besides making conscious efforts to push in our chairs and clean up after ourselves to keep our classrooms safe for others, we trained and became certified cape-wearing “Super Safety Kids”!
We also discussed the importance of our community helpers who are responsible to keep our neighborhoods safe.
For little preschool bodies, the excitement was hard to contain as the firefighters drove up in their trucks to show us their gear and teach us about the importance of fire safety.
Seeing the real firetruck made our role-play fire fighting activities come to life.
We recognize fire safety is not all fun and games, and we hope preschool parents will do their part to prevent fires and teach safety. Be sure to see some of the tips below.
Police officers have gadgets too! We loved peeking into our officer’s car and learning about how we can be responsible for our own safety.
Role playing is such an important activity to help preschoolers learn empathy and caring. Our dramatic play station in full-swing caring and helping our fellow citizens.
Whether police officers, firefighters, first responders, or whomever the community helpers may be, we are grateful for so many wonderful people willing to assume the responsibility to keep our community a safe and happy place to be! What would our world be like without them?
We all pray it won’t happen to us, but just in case, the American Red Cross offers this checklist to educate your child and prevent fires. Safety.com offers a few more ideas in this article. Take time to talk to your child about being responsible to prevent fires, and what to do in case one happens. Practice a fire drill so your child knows what the fire alarms sound like in your home.
Keeping our children safe is a responsibility we all share. This website offers some sound advice for caregivers teaching children safety. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for some additional resources on what to do to prepare for an emergency or a missing child situation. A few of their tips include:
- Teach children their full name, parent’s names, and phone number. Have this information written somewhere in case of a panic situation.
- Even a preschooler can learn how to dial 911. Teach your child how to use a phone and when it is appropriate to use it.
- Have a trusted adult your child can call in an emergency. Have your child memorize the number and have it available for babysitters.
- Choose babysitters wisely and follow-up carefully after they’ve been with your child.
- Set boundaries in your neighborhood with visible landmarks for your child.
- Get to know your neighbors and make sure your child is informed on whom they may and may not visit.
- Help your child understand that adults should not approach children, and if they do, to be careful because it could be a trick.
- Never leave your child alone in a car.
Reading Suggestions for Teaching Responsibility:
As always, there are fabulous books out there to start the conversation about responsibility with your preschooler. Here are a few we read with our classes:
- Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
- Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
- What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
- Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores by Jan & Mike Berenstain
Sometimes that lesson at home in responsibility takes a specific lesson on safety or practicing learning a phone number, but we hope that usually it’s just the extra little thing and the conversation that helps our preschoolers become responsible. We sure love teaching preschoolers responsibility as these important life lessons really come to life.
Looking for a preschool? Or even if you want to check out what our next learning adventures are, come visit us at an open house or schedule a tour of UDA Creative Arts Preschool by calling (801) 523-5930.
Written By: Elsje Denison