The purpose of preschool classroom jobs, for most preschool teachers, is to instill a sense of responsibility in preschoolers for their environment.
They fall under two common preschool domains in many state and country frameworks:
Social Science Knowledge and Physical/Health Development.
In my own Preschool Plan It standards, preschool classroom jobs would fall under the Social Science and Knowledge section as:
"Developing awareness of their family, the community, the classroom and their responsibilities in each."
Under Physical and Health Development, they would fall under the section that covers self-help skills:
"Demonstrates increasing ability to complete self-help/personal care tasks & life skills independently (washing hands, toileting, dressing, brushing teeth, using eating utensils, etc.)"
There are a couple of ways to integrate preschool classroom jobs.
One way is to have a ‘star’ or ‘assistant’ each day to do multiple jobs. I am not a fan of this. The purpose of helpers is to build a sense of responsibility within the classroom. Choosing one child to be this special person does not instill community.
In addition, with 16-24 children in a classroom, each child will be this “special helper” only once a month. The disappointment of not being ‘chosen’ as the special helper is devastating to young children.
Another way, which I recommend, is to choose enough preschool classroom jobs for half of your classroom and then rotating those jobs each day.
For example, if you have 16 children in your classroom, decide upon 8 preschool classroom jobs and alternate those jobs each day.
Half of your classroom will have a job today.
The other half will have those jobs tomorrow.
You might, instead, choose to have enough preschool classroom jobs for every preschooler and rotate the jobs each day. This is the route we took!
We use a standard Pocket Chart and have a job for each preschooler each day.
We listed the preschool classroom jobs on sentence strips and placed a laminated photo of each child next to their job.
Each day, we rotated the pictures down one job.
This way they each had a turn at each job.
Some jobs required two helpers (such as washing the tables before snack).
What types of preschool classroom jobs should you have?
Any that help the children learn responsibility in the classroom!
Below are some suggestions for 26 preschool classroom jobs and a description of what the responsibilities of each job is:
The Art Director helps get out the supplies for any special art projects and set up the art table (helping put the tablecloth on the table, etc.). They also help put the supplies away at clean up time.
This person's job is to walk at the end of the group. They make sure that all the other children are in front of them to get to your destination.
The purpose of the center monitor is to, after clean up time, check all the centers to see if any materials were not put away. Our monitor gave a thumbs up or thumbs down after checking each center. If a thumbs up--everyone gives a "Woo Hoo!". If a thumbs down, everyone (including the monitor) helps to complete cleaning that center so they can all give a Woo Hoo!
Clean Up Time Announcer/Song Starter
We typically give a 5 minute warning when we are about to clean up centers to head outside. The Announcer's job is to give the signal that it is clean up time (without yelling!!!). They might ring a soft bell. They might ring a bell and then begin singing your classroom clean up time song!
Classroom Pet Attendent
Do you have a classroom pet? They are a big responsibility, depending on which Classroom Pet you choose! Involving children in their care and maintenance is a great way to teach them about the needs and care required! They might feed the fish, tadpoles, frogs or guinea pig and help clean tanks/cages.
This preschool classroom job is perfect if you have a preschooler (or a few!) who know how to tie shoes! These children are your resident shoe experts who help tie the shoes of other children in the class.
This is not a daily job, but rather one that you might post so everyone knows who can help with their shoes!
This is the person who will make sure all the covers are off the paint cups in the morning and that there is enough paint in each cup. They check the paper supply at the easel, help put the covers back on the paint cup at the end of the day and can help clean up the mat you have under the easel!
This is your light helper who 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.
Children notice things we might miss! This helper's job is to help inspect the outdoor equipment. Does one of your riding cars have a crack? Is there a cracked or broken shovel in the sandbox? Your Equipment Inspector will learn a lot about health and safety by overseeing these things!
This job might include watering indoor plants or flowers outside of your building! This is a great opportunity for each child to be part of tending to flowers or a garden and learning how much water is too much or not enough.
The librarian's job is to take care of the classroom library by checking the Library at clean up time to ensure that the books are put away correctly (not on their spines, etc.). It's a great way to teach about books and their parts! Our Librarian also inspects books and places any that are ripped in a repair basket. They can then help the teacher repair the book, learning even more respect for the care of books.
This helper can help to set up the bowls of food on the lunch table (if your program provides the lunch). If the children bring their own lunches, the lunch helper can pass out napkins to each child and assist those who need help opening their lunchboxes!
This has been a favorite job in all of my classrooms! This helper tests a selection of markers by opening and drawing with one at a time. If it works, it goes into the marker bin. If it does not work, it goes into a different bin. (From here you have a few choices! You can re-ink the markers by sitting them in jars of watercolor paint from Discount School Supply. Or, you can dispose of them but keep the covers! The covers can be used either on other markers what somehow lose their covers (you know, the same way we somehow lose socks in the dryer!) OR use them as Loose Parts in your Math or Fine Motor area!
Much like Calendar Time above, I'm not a fan of Weather Time during Circle Time. Again, we are asking children to watch one child 1. Look out the window. 2. Choose a weather picture and place it on a board and 3. Dress the weather bear/frog/duck. It's great fun for the child doing it but what are the other 15 children doing during this 3-6 minutes? Yup-getting bored and totally losing focus!
Instead, find a weather board on sale, and hang it on a wall that the children can use at will! If you do assign a Meteorologist, this is their job to do during Center Time!
Name Tag Collector
Do your preschoolers become distracted with their name tags at Circle Time - to the point that they are not participating in your awesome science activity or dance you're doing? Have a Name Tag Collector! This job includes going around to each person in the group with a basket and each child places their own name tag in the basket. We sing a song together during this time.
It is sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It":
Put your name tag in the basket right away! RIGHT AWAY!
Put your name tag in the basket right away! RIGHT AWAY!
Put your name tag in the basket. Put your name tag in the basket.
Put your name tag in the basket right away! RIGHT AWAY!
In our Christian programs, we always say a prayer before each meal. The Prayer Leader begins the group prayer before meals. Our favorite is:
Thank you for the world so sweet.
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you, God, for everything! Amen.
This is similar to a Center Monitor. Before going back inside from your outdoor play area, the Property Manager takes a look around the area to be sure all toys are put away, the sandbox is covered, etc.
During clean up time, this helper checks the art table and the writing center to see if there is any paper that can be put into the recycle box. You can then use that paper whenever children need scraps of paper for their creations or to write notes! Keep a recycled paper bin where children can access it.
Rest Time Helper
If you are in a full-day program, your rest time helper can help his or her peers 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.
Sensory Table Supervisor
Provide the tools needed near your sand and water table for the helper to do this job such as: a sponge and pail; small/child-sized broom and dustpan and/or a cordless mini-vacuum!!
The snack helper can help prepare the table and set snack out. If your children bring their own snack, as ours did, their job might be to pass out napkins to each child - great one-to-one correspondence development!
One year, we had a preschooler who LOVED to survey the other preschoolers as they arrived. His favorite questions was: "What's your favorite food?" Your Survey Specialist can ask the question of the day and he/she gets to CHOOSE the question of the day. Such as "What's your favorite color?" "Do you have a pet?"
Have a clipboard and marker or pen ready and have this helper survey their children at arrival time and then share the results at Circle Time!
The table washer helps clean tables throughout the day: after an art project, before snack, before lunch, etc. They use a sponge and soapy water to clean and then a teacher uses cleaning solution (such as bleach and water). Be certain NOT to let the children use the bleach and water if it is in your state regulations for them to not use it. Other than that, so long as you are supervising, they can help with this task.
This person's job is to walk at the front of the group of children when going from one place to the next. They set the pace for the rest of the group as to direction and speed!
Many teachers refer to it as a Line Leader. I've reworded it because teaching children to walk in a straight line just doesn't work! Think about all the skills the children need to have mastered to do this:
Spatial awareness (in front of, behind, etc.), being able to project the shape of a "line" and follow it!; impulse control, locomotor mastery (to not step on the the feet of the person in front of them as well as being able to start/stop quickly, and all this while trying NOT to talk to other children around them about how excited they are to be going ____(insert destination here).
We spend more time talking about quieter voices in the building because others are working, sleeping, etc. rather than asking them to master linking up at 3 or 4. We certainly work on it toward the end of Prek.
Whiteboard & Chalkboard Magician
This job requires wiping off any dry erase boards, erasing chalkboards (as well as cleaning them with water when needed) and checking marker and chalk supplies throughout the day.
The jobs listed above are just some examples of jobs preschool children can do in the classroom.
You’ll note that I do not have a Calendar Helper listed. I know that Calendar Time is still used in many classrooms and I used to have that as part of my Circle Time as well. However, over time, research has shown that this is not a good use of large group time with preschoolers as this type of measuring time is not a skill they will learn through this activity. At best, they will learn to rote count to 31. But, I digress. This is a topic for an article to come! For now, you can read my 6 Do’s and Don’ts for Circle Time article here!
Job charts in preschool classrooms are a great way of making every child count!
Depending on the number of jobs you want to use, you can either assign each child a job or rotate the jobs so that only a handful of students have a job at one time, as noted in the beginning of this article.
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!
Preschool classroom jobs help children to become actively involved and responsible for their classroom and the needs of their peers.
Most preschoolers love being helpers and take their helper job seriously!
Responsibilities within the classroom also give them a sense of accomplishment, independence and community!
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