How to Teach Children About Communities

by Erica Loop
Help your little learner to understand her community.

Help your little learner to understand her community.

From your block to your country, all kinds of communities are around you and your child. Preschoolers are rapidly developing social skills and learning that the people around them might have some importance in their lives. Learning about communities can help your little one expand his social repertoire, better understand where he comes from and even get a grasp on his own culture. Don't fret if the thought of teaching your child about such broad concept as communities seems too much to handle. Make it a snap with just a bit of planning.

Items you will need

  • Poster board
  • Crayons
Step 1

Start small. This doesn't mean that you need to begin with an ant colony, although that's a valuable tool for teaching kids about how to work together in a communal group. Teach your child about the community that she probably knows the most about: Your family. Discuss how each member is similar while still being different -- you might love eggs while your preschooler hates them.

Step 2

Move further out to the next level of communities that your child knows: Her neighborhood or block. List the ties that link your neighborhood community together, including school or church. Go to community events such as a library story time, fall festival or school musical.

Step 3

Make a map of your community. Go on a walking tour around your house. Take a notebook and write down what you see. When you get home, use a piece of poster board and crayons to draw out the map. Hang it on the fridge or another easily visible spot to remind your child about her community.

Step 4

Remind your little learner that her community isn't the only one, and that other communities are often very different than what she knows. While preschoolers are beginning to understand that other people have different thoughts, beliefs and traditions than they do, this type of teaching isn't entirely easy. Try reading a book that celebrates another cultural community. If you aren't sure where to find quality picture books on cultures and communities, ask your local librarian or visit a website such as PBS Parents.

Tip

  • Take a "field trip" to other communities. Drive across town or make a compare and contrast chart while on vacation in another state. Look for objects that your preschooler will know, including a school or a bank, and objects that they don't recognize.

Warning

  • Avoid stereotyping or making broad judgments about other cultures and communities.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images