Teaching Responsibility in the Early Childhood Setting

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For young children, being responsible means:

  • Doing what you are supposed to do.
  • Keeping on trying.
  • Always doing your best.
  • Helping your friends and family.

Teachers are an important influence on young children. The children in your class will learn by the example you set for them. If your children see you being responsible, they will want to act responsibly, too.

Infants and responsibility

Help infants in your care gain the tools they will need in a few years to be responsible preschoolers. Once infants start on table food, give them the opportunity to feed themselves. They will learn the satisfaction of "keeping on trying" by picking up every piece of banana in their bowls. They can also learn to use a spoon at an early age (9-12 months) if you provide a plastic baby spoon with a big easy grip.

Quick responses to the child's calls and cries will teach him that he is important and that it is important to help friends and family.

Toddlers and responsibility

Toddlers like being responsible. They enjoy completing small tasks you set up for them. For instance, picking up the toys, finding their shoes, choosing between two stories to read for circle time. Activities such as these help toddlers feel confident and capable of completing tasks.

Getting dressed is another way to help children feel capable. You can start by giving toddlers opportunities to choose clothes and dress up in the home center. If young children learn that their opinions are important, then when they become preschoolers they will want to help others. They will also learn the feeling of accomplishment from completing tasks.

Also, before nap, allowing the children to take off their own shoes (because it's easier than putting the shoes on) will help them learn that they can keep on trying to complete tasks.

Preschoolers and responsibility

There are many ways you can help preschool children learn to be responsible. Preschool children enjoy having jobs at which they can succeed. Helping at school makes children feel important and know they are contributing to the classroom.

Simple chores children can do at school include:

- setting the table
- clearing their plates after a meal
- reporting the weather
- being the leader or caboose
- holding the flag
- helping with calendar
- taking a message to the office
- picking up after completing a task
- watering plants or feeding pets

Making a simple chart for your classroom may be an easy way to keep track of your class jobs. Your children will enjoy keeping track of changing turns on the job chart.

3/16/2005 12:55:03 AM
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