Exploring Communities For Kids
Kids can learn about different communities and their roles by exploring the people and things around them. They can also gain empathy by volunteering.
Encourage your kids to say hello and wave to their neighbours, and point out Community Helpers (police cars, fire engines, delivery vehicles) to them. There are plenty of books on these topics to read together too.
What is a community?
A community is a group of people that share a common identity or interest, such as a place, a religion, or a hobby. People in a community have strong ties to one another and work together to achieve shared goals. Communities can be large or small, geographically local or dispersed.
Students should start by reviewing what they already know about the word, “community.” Write this on a piece of chart paper, and have them make a prior knowledge/schema map.
Then, ask them to identify a definition of community that they agree with. Give them some time to think about it, and then have them present their ideas to the class. Have them explain the positive aspects of their definition, but be sure to mention that it is okay for their opinions to change as they listen to the arguments of others. This will help them understand that a true understanding of the concept requires a broad perspective.
There are fewer people and buildings in rural areas, and the air is usually cleaner. This type of community is often closer to nature and has more space for animals, parks and gardens. There may also be more farms. Many people living in rural communities travel to urban communities for work, which is called commuting.
One of the main challenges in rural America is a lack of access to jobs that pay a livable wage, affordable housing options and quality health care. Rural areas also face unique issues, such as geographic isolation and higher concentrations of poverty.
A great way to teach kids about the importance of working together for their local community is by doing a little community service. Ask them to use construction paper and markers to make a card for someone they know is an important part of their community (maybe it’s the cashier at the grocery store). Then, ask them to write about how they can help that person in return.
In a suburban area, there are houses on residential streets, and there are usually more green spaces and less traffic than in an urban or city community. People who live in suburbs often have lower crime rates, and they can enjoy amenities like shopping, entertainment, and health care facilities.
To help kids understand the differences between rural, urban and suburban communities, the teacher can create a list on the board and have students write down what they see on each page, using different colored markers to represent RURAL, URBAN and SUBURBAN (for example, a tractor and skyscrapers with a GREEN marker). Then, have a student volunteer read each term aloud, while the rest of the class circle which category it belongs in.
Suburbs can be controversial, with some depicting them as a culture of aimlessness and conformity in television shows like The Good Life, Butterflies, and Knots Landing and films such as The ‘Burbs and Disturbia. However, many residents of suburbs report having positive aspects to their lives, including affordable housing, access to healthy food and recreation, healthcare services, and social interaction.