Question

Local Government Civics Day for Kids

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Tyler Goodman

We are looking to start a local government civics day for elementary-age children where they can come to city hall, learn about local government, ask questions, and meet officials. Do you have a similar program in your jurisdiction? What grade(s) is/are in included in that? What is the extent of the education (1 day? What is covered? etc.)? Any details on this would be helpful.


Answers

 
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Pamela Davis

What a great way to make kids aware of what local government does! Richland County (SC) Government used to have a "Richland 101 for Kids", but it was discontinued, as the focus on the one day event was more about having fun and games than on educating the children about what services the government provides. The idea was good, but not especially well implemented.
Another event that I attend is a Career Day at an elementary school (grades Child Development - 5th grade). Many County departments regularly attend such events, including Sheriff's Dept. (and their K9 team), Fire and EMS, Animal Control, even my own business license department. How I made taxes relevant to kids: talk about their allowances, using play money, and what "taxes" kids DON'T pay. It was fun.
You may want to start out by seeing what the local schools do relating to civics, or if they offer Career Days. If nothing else, you could tie into the "Bring Your Child to Work Day" and use that as a springboard for bringing kids to work.
I hope this information is helpful, or at least generates some ideas to start from.

 
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Miranda Lutzow

Hi Tyler,

At a previous city I worked for, we had 2nd grade students come for "government day." They would come, visit and speak to the different departments, and then in the afternoon they would have a mock council meeting. The week before, the class would elected mayor and council members from among their classmates, and pick a random topic that was interesting to them (for example: potentially closing down a public swimming pool.) The whole class worked on developing pros and cons and prepare potential questions. Then on the visit day the student electeds would sit at the dias, and the other class members would come up and ask their pre-prepared questions and the student council members would respond. The kids always loved it and it was really fun to organize!

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Feb 16 2017
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