The federal election is just days away and project week is in full swing. Fittingly, our first project week of the school year revolves around elections. Early Childhood students engage in project work throughout the year, but project weeks are an opportunity for us to come together as a school on a united topic.
This week looks different at different levels. Our youngest students are studying the basic concepts of elections. Students will register to vote, create a voting booth, ballot box and ballots. They will learn about advertising before creating their own campaign posters. And some classes will even work on persuading others to vote for their candidate. Following the voting, students will tabulate the results. They will learn to deal with disappointment if their candidate is not the winner. During this project, language, math, social studies, art, and social/emotional skills come together into something that is meaningful to the children.
With all that the students are seeing, hearing and experiencing, they may wonder what the presidential election is all about or why the election is happening. They may even wonder why adults care. There are several things that you can do at home with your child to enhance their learning about the election process.
Do A Family Vote
At home, you can introduce the concept of voting by organizing a family vote. Encourage everyone in your family to vote for their favorite meal, bedtime story or a game to play. You can even make ballots, if you’d like! Review the results together as a family.
Preschoolers may not realize that they make lots of choices every day—but when it comes time to make a group decision, voting gives everyone a fair chance to speak up and be heard. While not everyone may be happy with the outcome of a vote, have your kids search for the positive. Try asking them:
- What do you like about the winning meal, story or activity?
- Why do you think other people voted for a different meal, story or activity?
- How would you feel if your idea won? Explain that someone else in the family gets to feel excited because their idea won the vote.
Take Your Children With You To Vote
Show kids how the voting process works by taking your child with you when you vote on election day. As you walk through the process together, remind your child that voting is a way for grown-ups to make a decision together. Let them know that there are rules grown-ups must follow. Start with the basics: everyone needs to be a US citizen and at least 18 years-old to take part in the election.
At the polling station, kids will see that everyone needs to sign in and wait their turn. Once you receive a ballot, explain that grown-ups take the ballot to the voting booth and make a mark next to the person they want to vote for. Then they put the ballot into the ballot box. It’s not over until all the votes are counted at the end of the night. Whoever has the most votes, wins.
The federal election is great opportunity to introduce children to the concept of voting. At St. James, we believe the best learning experiences for children are those that are meaningful and shared between home and school. As we continue through this project week, we look forward to your continued support at home as well. By talking about the voting process with your children and encouraging them to try it—you may be surprised by how excited they get about the process and how much learning truly occurs.