Exploring the neighborhood 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 neighborhood a great place to live — and learn about the importance of cooperating and working together.
As you explore your community, 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 neighborhood 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.
This article originally appeared in the March, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.