family job chart

We love Eleanor’s school (TLS) for many, many (MANY) reasons, but one of the overarching reasons we love having her attend is their philosophy about early childhood education: namely their integration of the Five Big Ideas in education.
One of these is Conscious Discipline (developed by Dr. Becky Bailey); a classroom management system and social-emotional curriculum. There are seven skills of Conscious Discipline, which are seamlessly integrated into the TLS classrooms: Composure, Encouragement, Assertiveness, Choices, Empathy, Positive Intent, and Consequences.

One important concept that is part of Encouragement is that of the School Family, and one of the structures used to create a positive school family at TLS is the job chart. Ms Silva, who writes the school’s blog, recently wrote this about job charts:

There are a number of benefits of a job chart. First, and foremost, having a meaningful job creates a sense of being a contributing member of the school family. The job chart also provides structure for each child’s day. Children experience mastery as they learn different jobs. The job chart also provides a way for each child to be “special” and gain recognition for “doing”. It develops a sense of responsibility, as well as self-esteem.

Eleanor regularly talks about her job, and the jobs of everyone else in her room. She’ll tell me that she’s the door holder, or that Gabe gets people’s shoes, or that Sevi’s job is to hold the gate. I started noticing the things she was doing around the house too- taking ownership of being an active participant in household chores like picking up her books or bringing us our shoes. I also thought about how important it is to establish these habits early on – participating in the”chores” that keep a house functioning {somewhat} efficiently. Plus, with another little one on the way, I thought it best to set some ground rules and habits early on.

So I decided to make a job chart of our own.

There are as many different kinds of job charts (templates/ideas) online as there are jobs to fill into those charts, but there were a few things I knew I wanted in ours:

  • I wanted it to be larger than an 81/2″ X 11″ piece of paper, which seemed to be the standard size of the online templates I was finding.
  • I wanted Eleanor to be able to participate in choosing the jobs each week- which meant having something that she understood and could reach.
  • I wanted daily and weekly jobs.
  • It needed to be large enough that Crabby Pants (that’s the little man in utero) could be added when he joined our family; and Tim and I needed jobs too.
  • I wanted the jobs represented as pictures, not just words.
  • I needed age appropriate jobs and a way to rotate/include new ones as the children grew.

Ultimately, I purchased a large foam board (roughly 2′ X 3′) and a few different colored papers. I prepared a list of the things that we (Eleanor and Tim and I) already did around the house and made sure to include some that were consistent between home and school (e.g. Eleanor likes being the door holder, which is something that they do at school, here at home). This job list in hand, I printed images to represent each of them (again, making sure to include some that were “true to life” for Eleanor [see “put animals away”- those are actually stuffed animals that she has]), glued them to card stock and then “laminated” them in packaging tape. Little squares of velcro were added to the whole board, some ribbon to break up the colored paper (yes, I color coded the board…I’m sort of lame like that), and the words DAY and WEEK to indicate how often the jobs are supposed to be done.

Finally, the whole thing was put on the wall, in the kitchen, where it can be seen regularly. I’d like to say that we’re using it exactly as it is meant to be used (assigning jobs each week and sticking with those), but some days Eleanor does every job on the board and some days all we get done is brushing our teeth. But I think we’ve got ourselves the start of something good and, for now anyway, I just don’t feel like being so rigid about it’s rules!

Final product (finally) hanging on the wall (As I was pre-drilling the holes, Eleanor kept saying “Good job mom. Good job.”)

Final chart, pre-

and post- ribbon and labels (both necessities, don’t you think? The big empty blue space is ready for Mr. Crabby Pants when he’s born [and yes, I’m thinking about putting a picture of a boob up there, just to make him feel like he’s contributing!).

Example jobs: number 1,

number 2,

and number 3.

Help with the measuring…

and hanging.

Eleanor posing with her real smile,

and the look she gave me after I said “smile.”


One thought on “family job chart

  1. In that last pic, I think she was beginning to recognize that there would be ongoing jobs associated with this job chart… P. U.


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