Kindergarten students often protest when one does not receive the same treatment as another, or most do not receive the same treatment as one. Fairness is a concept that shapes children's morals and ethics while they learn humanity and cooperative skills. Embracing principles of fairness enables each child to create lasting friendships and display respect for others, both children and adults.
Invite a lawyer or judge to the kindergarten classroom to discuss fairness in the judicial system. The judge might conduct a very short mock trial, with child-friendly terms based on given scenarios of unfair activities. The children can role-play the activity and leave it up to the judge to decide on what is fair or unfair as he bangs his gavel on the teacher's desk. The children could draw a picture to thank the judge for teaching them about fairness.
Fairness through Art
On the chalkboard, write the word "fairness," vocally say the term and ask each student to draw a picture representing what fairness means to him. The teacher cannot answer any questions about what to draw, so the activity lies in the representation of emotions felt by each child. Display the pictures on a classroom notice board and promote discussion among the class about what the term means to each individual.
Demonstrate through activities how unfairness makes each child feel when she is the victim of it. Arrange the class into a circle on the floor in front of the teacher. Throw a ball to one student, who should return the toss. Throw the ball to the same student a few more times, then ask how each child feels that she did not get a turn to throw the ball.
Distribute a bag of candies among the classmates, one at a time. When the bag is empty, ask the children to count the number of candy pieces they have received. Most likely, a few students will have one or two more pieces than the others. Discuss how it makes them feel when each child has different numbers of treats.
Take the kindergarten students outdoors to the playground area, and allow only three children to play while the others watch for five minutes. Do not explain. After the designated time, allow all children to play for five more minutes before heading back into the classroom. Discuss what each child was thinking while some students were able to play and others weren't.
Kickball is a game often played by elementary school students, but as a twist on the game to learn about fairness, devise different rules for each team. One team will have very complex and difficult rules to follow while the other team's rules result in high scores. At the game's end, discuss with the children the concept of fairness and how it can affect them and others in all aspects of life.