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    community helpers
    By ECE teacher

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    I am currently in the process of thinking up a unit about community helpers myself. Since I have only 4 days to work with, and we already did a Fire Safety unit with firemen, I'm thinking of focusing in on construction workers. These are the ideas I have so far:
    Books, books, books (of course). Checking out my local library I found quite an assortment of books that I can bring in to our classroom library.
    A co-teacher's husband is a contractor, so we may be able to have a "special guest" come & visit and bring in some real tools. I may ask him to help children pound nails into boards (being sure children have safety goggles on!)[addresses eye hand co-ordination, motor skills, safety rules, co-operation]
    For plumbers: I'm thinking about purchasing some plastic PVC pipes and joints (elbows, t's, connectors). The pipes would be cut to reasonable lengths. I could then just leave the pieces for free play, or create some "pattern cards" showing a set of pipes connected & have the children copy the pattern.[addresses patterning/math, co-ordination, follwoing directions]
    Carpenters: Provide an outline of a house, something like 4" wide by 6 to 8" high, with a roof. A simple drawing. Then provide the children with pretzel sticks to glue on as the wood. OR: cut strips of construction paper in the same demension (4X8), with lines every 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch. This is the "siding". Have the child choose a color of siding for their house, then they have to cut the strips and glue them onto their house. You can do a similar thing for roof shingles if you like. Provide square/rectangles to cut out for windows, etc. [addresses fine motor/cutting & gluing, following directions, color identification]
    Electricians: My husband does electrical work, so he has some tools that he said I can borrow. I'm thinking of taking his wire cutters and wire stripper (This tool pulls off the plastic coating on the wire so the copper is exposed)and some haeay gage(thick) wire. With direct adult (1:1) supervision, the children would cut a specific length of wire (about 6") using a ruler to measure & cutting with the wire cutters. They would then use the wire stripper to strip off sections of the palstic coating. They would then count out how many pieces of wire coating they have. [addresses eye-hand co-ordination, fine motor, measuring and counting skills.]

    I have to think these through some more to see if they are practical and safe.
    Hope these are enough to get you started on your road to making plans. Have fun!

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