There have been so many opportunities for parents to teach children about giving a part of themselves to others around the world and locally. There are local organizations collecting toiletry items for survivors of the hurricanes in Texas and other southern states, as well as the Caribbean Islands. Philanthropy is a big word for a child to pronounce and it may seem like a challenging concept to comprehend. Quite simply, it is a gift of yourself that you give to others. It can take the form of simple acts of kindness, cleaning a neighborhood park, sharing food, or giving money to an organization. Philanthropy programs for young people provide authentic, positive opportunities for children to develop skills and knowledge that will make them better students and human beings. Teaching young children about philanthropy is also about demonstrating and teaching empathy and justice. Empathy comes from imagining what life would be like in other circumstances and being humble for the privileges that one enjoys.
“No-one has ever become poor by giving.”
— Anne Frank
Parents who want to raise philanthropic children are teaching them to be aware of others’ needs, but also to be in tune with their own shareable abilities. Parents who talk about their own passions and philanthropic giving with their young children are helping to create a lifelong habit. In addition, children learn other executive functioning skills such as organization, communication, teamwork, collaboration and problem-solving skills. Children receive a boost in self-esteem when they perform selfless tasks. This begins the development and growth of empathy. At Twin Parks Montessori School, we strive to develop classroom communities where feelings are validated, and empathy is modeled, learned and shared. Teaching children to be empathetic now, whether offering an upset friend a tissue, or inviting others to play, will have a lasting effect on their citizenship in our global community. Each year at Twin Parks Montessori Schools, children participate in two philanthropy projects; one local and one global.
Twin Parks Montessori School’s local philanthropic project will be happening in just a few weeks. We will collect food for City Harvest. This project is very relatable to young children. They can imagine what it feels like to be hungry. Children enjoy choosing non-perishable food items to give to others. They watch the classroom and schools’ collection grow. This is a clear demonstration of how one small donation can become a larger gift. Giving can be a year-round activity for your family. If everyone demonstrated empathy and helped others, our community would be a wonderful place to be.
“One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.”
— Maya Angelou