Mr. Steve sings about how we all live in a city or town in this video from KET's All Around Me collection. Many cities and towns are different, but they make up a great big world that we all have a place in.
Children describe the location of a doll within a dollhouse and hula-hoops.
Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards Three- and Four-Year-Olds
Social Studies Standard 1: Demonstrates basic understanding of the world in which he/she lives
Benchmark 1.2: Uses environmental clues and tools to understand surroundings.
For the following activity, you will need:
Hula hoops of various sizes
Small doll or action figure
Vocabulary: city, state, country, United States, earth, map, globe
In a spot where all the children can see, place a doll in a room of a small dollhouse. Put a small hula hoop around the dollhouse, and a larger hula hoop around the smaller one.
Ask the children, “Where is the doll?”
Discuss how the doll is in a room, in a house, and in two hula-hoops.
Expand the conversation to discuss the city, state, country, and world. If possible, use a tablet or interactive white board to show a satellite map from your specific address to the city, state, country, and world.
Introduce maps and globes. Show the children locations of interest on the maps and globes.
Modifications for Special Needs Practice the preposition in using everyday items like the hula hoop. Challenge the child to move the action figure in response to different language cues, e.g., Can you put the action figure in the house? Can you put the action figure on the house?
Extension Read There Is a Town by Gail Herman with the children. This picture book illustrates the concept of locations being nested within bigger locations, going backwards from a town, to a street, to a house, and so forth.
The question “Where are you?” has many correct answers. I am in a building, a neighborhood, a city, a state, and a country on the earth. While adults have a clear understanding of the relationship between place and specific locations, children are building this understanding. For example, a child may say that she cannot be part of a country because she lives in a city.
Children don’t think about the city, the state, and other geographic categories. All they see is their own location, and that is what place means to them. Describing other categories of location to a child builds understanding. The ideas of geography are nested; each place is part of a bigger place. My apartment is in my neighborhood in a city that is part of a state that is part of a country on a continent on the earth. A child who understands this has developed many complex ideas about geography and place.
Some categories of place are physical, such as a house or a school. Some categories of place are only visual on a map. Photographs of earth from space show no lines for countries and states, just land and water. Adults use maps and other tools to describe where they are and where they are going. Since maps require symbolic understanding, children do not intuitively understand them.
When an adult says something like “You are here” with reference to a map, a child may wonder how he or she could be on a map. Sharing a map of the classroom or the playground can help. Children know that the slide is by the swings, and they can see it on the map.
Every individual is a citizen of the earth. The question, “Where do you live?” and the answer “Here I am in this _______” can lead to broader understanding of the world.