Unity in Community: Learning About Helping Hands

It takes many hands to make a community a wonderful place to live. But it takes extra special HELPING HANDS to make a community a safe place to live. As our littlest community members grow, it’s natural to have a little bit of fear and trepidation about strangers and those with whom they are not familiar. However, it’s crucial for children to develop a sense of trust in those community helpers who keep us safe. Firemen and women, law enforcement, etc., are there to protect and serve us, our families and our neighbors. So we spent some time getting to know them and what they do, and also express our thanks to each for what he or she does to help make our neighborhoods and city both beautiful AND safe.
Our friends from the local fire stations came to say hello, and educate us about what they do to ensure our safety. Our students were able to explore the fire trucks and see special tools that are used. We focused heavily on discovery learning, affording students the opportunity to explore and ask questions to clarify their understanding of these community helpers and what they do for us day-in-day-out. It’s one thing to enjoy wonderful literature and read books about what firemen and women do, it’s another to have hands-on, engaged learning experiences.
We also integrated art with the unit, and students created beautiful artistic representations of flames. We entitled them “Firemen Flames.”
With our letters of the week being both “E” and “F,” and the color of the week being red, meeting with firemen was a perfect way to pull it all together. We love it when, through careful and deliberate strategic planning, we can ensure that things are not taught in isolation. Instead, concepts come to life through real world examples. Tying in numbers and letters to our theme of community helpers lends itself to higher-level learning, and helps children connect the dots in the world around them.  For example, we practiced “Stop, Drop and Roll” and counted to three (our number of the week) as we did so. We also played #3 Fire Cup Knockdown Game as part of our physical activity integration.
Our toddlers and two year old classes experienced sensory play AND art coming together in one as they created Firetruck Footprint Art, where we emphasized the color red. And, of course, no firefighter theme week is complete without the famed “Pete the Cat, Firefighter Pete.”
Last, but certainly not least, we wanted to let you all in on a big little something in which our K4 children at our Greer location participated: the 2019 March of Dimes Wonderwalk at the Greenville Zoo. Our students raised $1,026.25 to help babies whose arrival might have come just a little bit too soon for their little bodies to handle without assistance. We love participating in such worthy causes that help people right here in our own city. This was a meaningful teachable moment for our staff to help shape and guide our children to embrace a mentality of helping others.
Character building + the zoo = one math equation we can all get behind!
Did your child bring what he or she learned about community helpers into the home? Perhaps engage in a little imaginative play as a firefighter? If so, be sure to send us your snapshots and stories so we can include them in future posts!