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Part of the Family
We all have a home away from home. Whether it is work, a friend's house, the grocery store, or your parent's house, we all have a place outside of our home where we spend a lot of time. For many children, this place is school. Most young children spend most of their waking hours during the week at school, especially if they attend a preschool with before and after school care. This large amount of time spent at school makes it necessary for all children to have a sense of belonging and acceptance in their environment.
A classroom is much like a family unit. The teacher and teacher's assistants are much like parents. They tend to the needs of the students, are responsible for their well-being, discipline them, and educate them. The students are much like siblings. They play together daily, form friendships, and often have disagreements.
Any family requires each member to have roles. This is also true with a classroom family. Each child will feel that they belong and are an important part of the team if they are given responsibilities in the classroom environment. One way to make every child count is through the use of job charts in early childhood classrooms. This article focuses on jobs that can be given to preschool students and how to best use job charts.
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Below is a list of possible jobs that can be used in a preschool classroom. All jobs may not work for every preschool teacher, as each preschool is different. Some preschool classrooms may take naps, while others may not. Some classrooms may use hallways to travel to a gym, playground, art room, or other area; while other classes may participate in all activities in their classroom. You will need to pick and choose the jobs that work best for you!
- Line Leader: This person's job is to walk at the front of the line in the hallway. They set the pace for the rest of the class. You could also have two lines (boys and girls) and have two different line leaders.
- Caboose: This person's job is to walk last in line. They make sure that all children are walking ahead of them and to close any doors necessary behind them. You can also use two lines as discussed above.
- Supply Manager: The purpose of a supply manager is to help the teacher get out supplies, pass them out, clean any paint supplies, and put things away.
- Messenger: This is one of the jobs I have found students like the best. The messenger is in charge of delivering messages, notes, attendance, and other documents around the school. They may also help with any miscellaneous jobs you need help with within the classroom.
- Center Checker: The purpose of the center checker is to make sure all centers are cleaned up and put away properly at the end of center time. This can be a big job if you have several centers, so having multiple checkers may be a good idea.
- Custodian: The custodian's job is to clean up any trash they see on the floor and make sure all paper towels in the restrooms are thrown away properly. Your school's custodians will appreciate this very much!
- Board Eraser: This job speaks for itself. The board eraser does just that, erases the board.
- Paper Passer: This is another obvious job title. This person's job is simply to pass out papers. You can use this person to pass out worksheets you are getting ready to do, graded papers to go home, or newsletters for take home folders.
- Bathroom Supervisor: The purpose of the bathroom supervisor is to make sure students are behaving appropriately in the restrooms and in line. It is a good idea to watch the students standing in line waiting and have one bathroom supervisor in each bathroom to inform you of any students not following the rules in the restroom.
- Table Cleaner: The table cleaner is obviously the person who cleans the table. This may be after a meal, snack, or a messy art project. Give the student a soapy rag and a drying rag to wipe down the tables. This helps get rid of the majority of the mess and loosen anything stuck on. Don't forget to wash it with a bleach rinse on your own afterward.
- Rest Time Helper: The rest time helper is to help make the transition to rest time smooth. The rest time helper can be in charge of putting down cots or mats, getting out everyone's blankets, or even just turning on soothing music. It is up to the individual teacher to decide what kind of help is appropriate.
- Student of the Week: The student of the week is the special person for the week! Each child should get a turn to be the student of the week. They get to tell their friends about themselves, bring in things that are important to them, and may be provided special privileges, such as deciding on a read-aloud story or being the first to eat their snack.
- Calendar Assistant: The job of the calendar assistant is to help the teacher answer questions about the daily calendar, such as the day of the week, month of the year, and more. They may also attach the pieces to the calendar. Some teachers choose to have the calendar assistant answer the questions, while other teachers have the assistant call on students for answers.
- Librarian: The librarian's job is to take care of the classroom library by putting away books in the correct places and make sure any books that are broken are put in the book hospital. (This is a small tub for broken books where the teacher can mend them or get rid of them on his or her own time.) This could be a large project, so you can have two librarians.
- Light Helper: The light helper is in charge of turning the classroom lights off when the class leaves the room and turning the lights on when the class returns. They may also get the lights during rest time, a movie, or the use of an overhead projector or Smartboard.
- Shoe Expert: This job is perfect if you have a student who knows how to tie shoes. The purpose of the shoe expert is to tie shoes of other students in the classroom. This is a big helper for the teacher, as tying shoes can take up a lot of valuable time.
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Putting It All Together
Job charts in preschool classrooms are a great way of making every child count! The jobs listed above are just a few examples of jobs preschool students can do in the classroom. Depending on the number of jobs you want to use, you can either assign each student a job or rotate the jobs so that only a handful of students have a job at one time. You must also decide whether you would like to have students change jobs daily, weekly, monthly, or have the same jobs all year. Each classroom is different, and every teacher will run their job chart differently! The important aspect that should be the same for all preschool classroom is that each child is involved and responsible for a role in their classroom family! Responsibility can never be taught too early!