The word responsible can be a “big” word for children to understand. However, when adults help children to see what responsible behaviors look like, they soon learn to understand what the word means and, more important, how to carry out such behaviors themselves. By providing children with a visual, this activity from Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure helps children to see how their responsible behaviors can create growth in themselves, friends, family, and even a tree!
- colored construction paper
- large brown paper
What To Do
- Introduce the word “responsibility” as “taking care of ourselves and each other,” “being kind to each other,” “helping,” “caring for our classroom and materials,” and so on.
- Help the children understand that in their class, the responsibility tree will grow if they help take care of themselves, each other, and their classroom.
- Invite the children to help you trace and cut a tree shape, branches, and apples from the colored paper.
- Explain that the responsibility apple tree will grow new apples each time they demonstrate responsible behavior.
- It is a good idea to have a basket of pre-cut apples readily available to record the great “growing” that is sure to take place.
- Each time you see one or more of the children act responsibly, reward them by adding a new apple to the responsibility apple tree. Write the friendly behavior on the apple tree (no names are necessary). be sure to talk to the children about what happened to help the apple tree grow.
- To let children know responsible behavior is not just for them, encourage the children to add apples to the tree when they see adults, peers, and others in their environment showing responsible behavior.
Material from Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure by Nefertiti Bruce and Karen B. Cairone (pages 63 - 63).