We spent a lot of time this week talking about elections and voting.
It was a week that really reinforced my belief that my job as an Early Childhood Educator is so much more than teaching math and reading, it is about giving children a foundation to being a good citizen, showing them how to treat one another, and teaching them social skills that will last a lifetime.
So we talked about voting! I was amazed at how fascinated my children are about the voting process. We talked about it for about 20 minutes on Monday when we changed the calendar, and for close to 40 minutes during our Tuesday morning meeting (for those of you not in ECE...that is like an eternity for class discussion).
We also had more formal activities in which we read books about elections ("Duck for President" and "Otto Runs for President") and voted on important class issues (what to do for our Thanksgiving celebration and what to do for our January monthly project). All of the children signed in, voted secretly on the issues, and were given a "I voted today" sticker. We announced the results later in the day and conducted a short discussion on how voting results are announced.
Here are some of the topics we covered. I personally was amazed at the depth of the discussion and the questions my children asked:
- Voting is a way to show your opinion on important public matters.
- If you don't vote, you can't complain (a personal favorite).
- Poll locations are based on where you live
- What polling locations look like.
- Why you have to show your ID when you go to vote/
- Voting is a private thing. You should not feel pressured to vote for a particular candidate and you should not have to share who you voted for.
- Why political campaigns can be negative.
- You can not campaign at a polling location.
- How results are announced to the public.
- What a levy is
- What a non-presidential election is
- Election day is the first Tuesday of every month.
- You can elect people into positions or vote for or against an issue.
- Majority rules.
- People in different cities vote on different issues.
I think we have some future politicians in our classroom...or even more importantly, future caring and compassionate voters!
"A passive and ignorant citizenry will never create a sustainable world." -Andrew Gaines