make a difference: citizenship

July is Citizenship month at Maria's  Make a Difference Monthly linky.

For kindergarten kidlets I boil being a good citizen down to "I take care of where I live, work and play".

So, we have to be good kindergarten citizens.

And that means cleaning up the mess we make.  Not a 5 year old strong point!

After the first couple of clean up times, which generally are absolutely chaotic, noisy and accomplish very little, we sit down and chat.

We look at the mess left after clean up time.

And we talk about what is important about clean up time.

Every time we have this chat, the most important thing about cleaning is that everyone helps.  Even the kidlets who spend clean up time avoiding putting toys away, are adamant that everyone should help!

The kidlets decide the three most important things about cleaning up.  I write them down, and we change the wording until we can all agree (in a 5 year old kind of way).

I create a poster with the agreed upon "important things about clean up".

the posters from the last couple of years

It is posted in the classroom and referred to daily when we are learning to be good classroom citizens, and then on an as needed basis.

Being good clean up citizens should be fun, so we play fun music during clean up.  My favourite is Oh My Goodness Look at this Mess by Sweet Honey in the Rock.  One of the best $0.99 I ever spent at itunes. It's so much easier to be a good citizen when you are dancing to great music!

I really liked the way that Barbara at Grade ONEderful defined being a good citizen - a person who works to make the community better for all.  It made me think of another song.

Charlotte Diamond sings a song called Leave the World Just a Little Bit Better.

Leave the world just a little bit better
A little better than it was,
Leave the world just a little bit better
A little better than you found it
When the sun came up

I'm only one and we are two
But there are others like me and you
Step by step and hand in hand
We can help our land

Leave the world just a little bit kinder
A little kinder than it was,
Leave the world just a little bit kinder
A little kinder than you found it 
When the sun came up

Charlotte Diamond has a short clip of the song on her website.

And a kindergarten class sings along with Charlotte.

I think that we will have to start the year off learning this song. Leaving the world a little bit better sounds like good citizenship to me.


  1. I love this post Sandi, and hadn't really thought about this being citizenship. I went to a lecture a few years back by an early years guru & she said that we have to teach tidying-up as much as how to share & take turns. That gave me the courage to go back & slow the whole process down in the first term. We divide the children into 2 groups & they tidy up in the small group of 8-9 with 1 adult, they alternate between tidying up inside & outside. Thanks for this post, as I am hoping to be involved in a project with other schools on citizenship & I was struggling with how to involve my class - now I know where to start!

  2. Great post, Sandi. I really like how simple you've kept the concept. The anchor chart is a good idea (I really need to make those more often:). I'm off to iTunes to grab both those songs, too!
    And thank you for the shout out!!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

  3. This is such a wonderful post! This is EXACTLY why I am hosting Make a Difference Monthly---it's all about reaching and teaching children about character (in this case, citizenship) early on. We need to teach young children in an age appropriate manner so they really get it. Thank you for your wonderful addition to my linky party!

  4. If those LA LA LA LAs don't warm your heart . . . thanks, Sandi, for this wonderful glimpse into citizenship. LOVE the song . . . pinning this post!

    The Corner On Character


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