The classroom is akin to a family, with each person playing an important role. Everyone should be involved in caring for the classroom and its inhabitants, thus the need for preschool classroom jobs. Everyone should also be involved in the daily tasks that take place at school. Therefore, we always employ “helpers” in our pre-k class! There are many more reasons to include jobs in the early childhood classroom! Here are a few:
- Having a special role in the classroom gives students more ownership of their school day.
- Being a helper gives a child a real sense of accomplishment, building her self-esteem in a meaningful way.
- Having a job is a positive experience for every student. This is even more true for students who are struggling to control their behavior in class.
- Obviously, it helps the teachers to get things done and keep the classroom clean.
- Jobs help the children become more responsible for themselves and their environment.
- Jobs are a concrete way for children to practice teamwork. They’re also able to see that working together gets things done quicker.
- Not every child gets to be a helper every day. This teaches the children patience.
In our classroom, we have 4 helpers each week. We have a Leader, an Inspector, a Weather Reporter, and a Caboose. There is 1 child assigned to each job for the entire week. At the beginning of each week, new helpers are chosen at random.
Click on any of the preschool job charts below to be taken to the free printables.
Our Leader helps run circle time. He chooses a pointer and is in charge of pointing to the month, the days of the week, the numbers, and the pattern. He holds the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance during circle time, as well. Throughout the rest of the school day, the Leader is first is most everything we do — first in line, first to choose a center, first to sit down for snack, etc. Any time Mary Poppins or I need something done, the Leader helps.
The Inspector keeps an eye on the cleanliness of the classroom. After clean up time, she walks around the room to make sure everything is put away and all chairs are pushed in. If there are random cleaning jobs during the day, our Inspector deals with them. The most prized job of the Inspector is . . . vacuuming after lunch! Yes, the kiddos love vacuuming, and we definitely encourage that!
The Weather Reporter‘s job is pretty straight-forward. He’s in charge of the class weather graph for the week. During circle time, after we’ve done calendar and the Pledge, the class sings a weather song. As the other children are singing, the Weather Reporter walks to the playground door and checks the weather. He comes back in, announces the weather, and fills the weather chart in appropriately.
Our Caboose holds doors whenever needed — when we go out on the playground, when we go up to Chapel, etc. She’s also the last person in line and often makes sure her friends are lined up as needed.
Mary Poppins and I have a simple set-up to keep track of our helpers. We have 4 laminated sheets next to our calendar — 1 for each helper. A pushpin is placed next to each of the sheets, and the helpers’ tags are hung by the appropriate one. The helper tags are made on the first day of school, when we have each child color a “helper crayon”.
The crayon is just a piece of clip-art enlarged and copied for each student. The students’ names were printed out on mailing labels, and we attached the names once the crayons were colored. We ran them through the laminator, cut them out, and were set to go. Next week, we’ll hang all of the helper crayons on a metal ring by the Helpers board. Mary Poppins and I use a checklist to keep track of which children have done which job.
For the first week of school, Mary Poppins and I were the only helpers. This way, we were able to explain and model what we expect of each helper. On Monday, we’ll start having students take over the helper jobs. Since there are only 4 helpers each week, we often have to teach the students how to handle the disappointment of not getting picked. I usually say, “Rats! Maybe next time!” when there are whines about it. By the third or fourth week of school, the kiddos tend to say that on their own!
What do YOU do for helpers in your classrooms? I’d love to hear some of your great ideas!
**Please note that the font and most of the clip-art in the free printables above are from D.J. Inkers. I am allowed to share what I’ve made with you for free. You may print them and use them, but you may not sell them. An affiliate link to D.J. Inkers.