How to Teach Community Helping to Kids

A young girl with her face painted climbing onto a policeman's motorcycle.
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Engage students in the community by teaching them about public servants. Community helpers such as police officers, teachers and public officials work hard to benefit the public good. By taking time to introduce your students to this topic, you not only acquaint them with resources to which they can turn should they need assistance, but also encourage them to act as helpful members of their own communities.

Define community. Write this word on the board and ask students to volunteer definitions. Jot down the key points of each definition, then look up the term in the dictionary. Compose a class-decided-upon definition, allowing students to discuss and arrive at a definition in their own words.

Brainstorm a list of community helpers. Ask volunteers to add examples of community helpers to a class list, giving titles of people who help make the community better, such as police officers.

Assign each student one or two community helpers from the list and ask them to explain how that individual helps better the community. For example, a student could say that a teacher helps the community by ensuring that everyone is educated.

Read community-helper themed books. Gather books such as “When I Grow Up” by Mercer Mayer and “Who's Under That Hat?” by Sarah Weeks, both of which discuss the helpers present in most communities. Read these books together as a class or divide students into groups and allow them to read and discuss them with their classmates.

Allow students to become community helpers by adopting classroom jobs. Enlist students to assume various jobs so that they can experience the joy of helping with community betterment. For example, your list could include classroom cleaner, line monitor and homework collector.

Model proper completion of each job. Move through your job list, focusing on one job at a time. Instead of just telling your students how to complete each job, show them by acting out each job, helping them develop a better understanding of what each job entails. Conclude by assigning these jobs to students.

Critique students as they complete the jobs, providing praise and correction as necessary. Encourage students to thank each other just as they should thank other helpers in the community.

Instruct students to compose a paragraph about community helping. In their paragraphs, students can describe the benefits of community helpers or describe one specific community helper.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.