6 CHAPTER 1
Begin with the name of their community, and help them build a sense of
identity and belonging. Discussions to identify people who live near them may
take place either individually or in small groups. Allow time for questions and
discussion so children can share information regarding the variety of living
spaces, homes, neighborhoods, and communities they can identify in their area
or that they are learning about. In this way children help other children see a
wider range of possibilities for community structure.
county mobile home
CREATING THE ENVIRONMENT
Post photographs and materials that represent the communities children
live in. Allow children to use materials that help identify addresses, such as
phone books, mailing envelopes or labels, street address signs, and street
maps. Invite family members in community-helping roles to come into the class-
room and describe their contributions. Ask them to give the children tours of
where they work, such as schools, churches, civic buildings and courthouses,
parks, banks, and health clinics. Invite family members who have lived in
other communities, towns, states, or countries to visit the classroom to talk
about similarities and differences in housing, family environments, school
environments, and community environments.
Ask community resources, such as the chamber of commerce and tourist
information bureaus, for materials to add to interest areas.
Go for walks and take photographs or video of the community and special
events to infuse the classroom with a community atmosphere.
Check local policies and consider the specific circumstances of families en-
rolled before posting addresses or photographs of the living quarters for any
child, since doing so may endanger children who are in foster care, involved
in legal custody disputes, or have family members with restraining orders.
You may need to modify activities to protect children, and you may need to
keep materials with addresses out of the view of visitors.