In December, our kindergarten and elementary students were invited to participate in a program called ‘Kids Give.’ This program is organized by a local group, “The Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse,” and in 2015 the money to fund the ‘Kids Give’ program was donated by our local Food Co-op through their ‘dime a bag’ giving program. Each time a shopper brings reusable bags to the Co-op, a dime is donated to a local non-profit. So
already you can see a large group of people working together for the common good ~ a local non-profit, a local Food Co-op, and all of the shoppers who donate their dimes.
The Kids Give program gives each participating class $50 to donate to a local non-profit. The children learn about what each charity is about, and then through small and large group discussions, the children come to consensus about how to donate their $50. This is a kid friendly introduction to the concept of philanthropy. And children are so naturally generous and excited to get involved. This is a second year for our school to be involved, and both times the children have responded with, “What else can we do?” In 2014, the children decided to work for donations at home by completing extra chores, and some also brought money from their own piggy banks and ‘tooth-fairy’ money.
This year, the children have been enjoying cooking meals together, so they decided to cook and serve a lunch for donations. This project involved so many skills – choosing a menu, setting the date, advertising the event, lots of food prep work (slicing, dicing, stirring, whisking, measuring, timing, mixing, serving . . .), setting up our ‘pop up café’, clean up, money work (donations – cost of ingredients = amount to donate), and more group discussions and decision making about where to donate the money raised.
The children prepared penne pasta with made from scratch creamy garlic alfredo sauce, salad, chocolate brownies and strawberries. The food was delicious, and the whole school smelled like an authentic Italian restaurant. The children served about fifty lunches, including serving themselves! You can see from the photos how busy they all were.
This project fitted in so well with our values – child-centered, love of learning, community, diversity and dignity. The children were excited, proud and enjoyed all of the tasks involved. They worked together in teams, building their sense of community. The project was the kids’ idea, and they were deeply involved in every step, so it was definitely child-centered. I really love it when children experience the dignity of real work and are able to work together as a community for the greater good of the larger community.
As a side note, several families have told me that their child is now cooking dinner for the whole family on a regular basis. Scrambled eggs, made-from -scratch macaroni and cheese, English muffin mini-pizzas, salad, grilled cheese sandwiches . . . all made with love by a child. What could taste better than that!