One of the many reasons why I love to be a member of the Hillside fellowship is what we teach. It is true, we teach math, reading, and writing, but we also teach so much more. Friendship, community, and giving to others are just a few of the things we focus on in our daily lives here at Hillside. Because these values are so important to learn, we begin incorporating them as early as preschool.
We do this in a variety of ways. One big way is through giving projects. You see, each year the classes here are tasked with completing a giving project. In Preschool, we have focused on many different things to help those around us in the community.
In our All-Day Preschool Class, we learned about Random Acts of Kindness. By making and handing out Valentines to the people on Main Street, we learned that a simple “just because” act of giving can brighten someone’s day and always leads to a smile. The excitement and joy each preschooler had when delivering their Valentine was infectious to all around them. It was fantastic to see!
Ms. Yolanda’s AM and PM Pre-K Classes organized a school-wide food drive to benefit Hopelink. They talked about how sometimes people need a little help with the basic necessities. Each day, they would collect, sort, and count food brought in by Hillside students and families. At the end of the month, Ms. Yolanda’s classes loaded the bus and eagerly delivered the boxes and cans they collected. This simple act of collecting food taught the children so much more than counting and sorting. It showed the spirit of taking care of people who may not have enough and being part of a community is more than living in one.
Ms. Rhonda’s “Bunnies” and Ms. Heather’s “Lambs” collected items for people who may not have what they need to be warm enough through the winter. To help teach these acts of helping and giving, they setup a Mitten Tree and had the children “decorate” it with their gifts of gloves and mittens. In an age-group that is primarily egocentric, this project showed us all that even three year olds can get into the giving spirit!
These giving projects might seem small, but they are so powerful! In addition to showing others that people care about them, these actions also build character, teach kindness, empathy, and most importantly, that one is never too small to make a difference!
Here are the links if you would like more information on, or to help, the organizations that we worked with: