If you are new to articles from The Early Childhood Education Team, you’ll find tips, tricks, activities, and playful learning ideas centered around a changing weekly theme. Each Wednesday throughout the school year, we’ll partner with some of the best educational bloggers to bring you, our valued readers, tools to use at home, in a childcare setting, or in the classroom! This week, the #TeachECE Team is offering suggestions for encouraging RESPONSIBILITY in Early Childhood.
Encouraging kids to be responsible is an ever changing endeavor as our kids grow! Starting early with age-appropriate activities will help our kids garner an attitude of responsibility, awareness, self-control, and accountability. Areas of responsibility will usually fall under one of the general categories below:
- HOME and FAMILY
Even kids as young as age two can begin the process of learning to care for their own bodies and being responsible. By the time kids are preschoolers, they are capable of responsibilities for self-care and some household tasks when given age-appropriate opportunities to practice. Young kids LOVE being helpers and learning to do things on their own – ALL BY MYSELF becomes the main mantra! Using practical life skills to encourage a young child’s desire for independence will promote healthy development (order, concentration, self-control, coordination, independence) and foster a sense of responsibility at home, in childcare, or in the classroom!
Practical life activities encourage a young child’s desire for independence and foster a healthy sense of responsibility that they can carry with them into the greater community. While there are MANY ways to incorporate practical life activities into daily routines for preschoolers, below you’ll find suggestions to integrate responsibilities for self-care and age-appropriate household tasks into the classroom, childcare setting, or at home.
“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.” ~Maria Montessori
Practical Life Activities to Encourage Responsibility for SELF in Preschool!
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- Dressing (ties, laces, buckles, buttons, snaps, and buttons) – use old articles of clothing for children to practice dressing skills or purchase durable commercial dressing frames to promote independent dressing skills.
- Putting on socks/shoes – allowing our kids to struggle a bit is OK! Plenty of practice with minimal assistance will challenge our kids to acquire skills! Reminder: Patience, for adults, is a required characteristic. 🙂
- Independent Bathroom Skills – as kids are ready, help them learn to take care of restroom needs independently.
- Brushing Teeth – practice dental hygiene skills daily!
- Brushing/Combing Hair – kids can practice on their own hair or on a doll’s hair.
- Washing – set up a center for baby washing: include a small bowl of water, hand soap, a small washcloth, a doll, and a drying cloth.
- Pouring – provide an activity tray for plenty of practice with pouring. Vary the containers and amount of liquid as kids gain confidence.
- Spooning – make an activity tray where kids can practice spooning various dry items from one container to the next (suggestions: cereal, rice, pasta, or sand). Vary the spoon size as skills grow.
Practical Life Activities to Encourage Responsibility for HOME in Preschool! – Folding a Washcloth_Practical Life Skills
- Folding Washcloths and Small Towels – Print the simple 3-Step visuals (linked above) , laminate for durability, demonstrate the folding technique, and then give the kids a basket of washcloths to practice with!
- Setting the Table – make an activity tray with a plate, fork, knife, spoon, napkin, and glass. Demonstrate how to make a basic place setting and allow for practice time!
- Sorting Cutlery – purchase an inexpensive cutlery tray and cutlery. Invite the kids to practice sorting knives, spoons, and forks into the individual compartments.
- Cleaning Mirrors – use a spray bottle, small mirror, and a polishing cloth to teach preschoolers how to clean mirrors.
- Crumb Collecting – use a small brush and dustpan to encourage daily clean-up in the classroom, in childcare, or at home.
- Washing Tables – we make this practical life activity part of our classroom jobs list. At the end of our day, students take turns washing and drying our tables.
- Sorting and Folding Socks – provide a basket of socks for the children to match and fold.
- Cutting Softer Fruits – allow kids to use a real knife to cut soft fruit (and other soft foods). *Demonstrate safety procedures for cutting and using knives – supervise young children as they practice and learn.
- Washing Fruits and Veggies – kids can use a vegetable brush and towel to rinse and clean fruits and vegetables.
While this list is, by far, not all inclusive, the practical life activities above will provide opportunities for preschoolers to practice independent skills and garner responsibility for the tasks they are capable of doing on their own!
- Montessori Made Easy: Practical Life Lessons: A Guide for Parents, Teachers, Preschools, and Childcare Centers for Creating and Teaching…Using Simple and Inexpensive Materials (Vol. 1) by Andrea Hendon Busch, Ed.D.
For MORE tips, tricks, and activities for encouraging RESPONSIBILITY at home or in the classroom, please visit suggestions by the dedicated Early Childhood Education Team below!
Teaching Responsibility: Use a Morning Routine Checklist via Mom Inspired Life
Morning Routine Chart for the Preschool Classroom via Fun-A-Day
Teaching Responsibility: Simple Daily Routine Chart for Kids via Learning 2 Walk
Using Group Goals to Teach Responsibility in Kindergarten and Preschool via Capri + 3
Teaching Kids to be Responsible through Literacy Activities via Growing Book by Book
Responsibility Interactive Mini-Book and Memory Game for Preschoolers via Life Over C’s
Homeschool Lesson Plan Checklist via Still Playing School
Teaching Children How to Be Responsible for their Own Backpack by The Educators’ Spin On It