The virtue of the month of December is charity. Charity, when explained simply to children, is “helping others and being kind.” In the classroom I like to use these examples to explain it to my Kindergarten students – if their friend is sad, try to cheer them up; if a teacher needs help cleaning the classroom, help out in any way, even if it is small. At home, in order to foster charity, whenever we notice or hear about charitable things our children have done, we should compliment them! Make sure to encourage the behavior, reward it, and let the children know that they are very kind and generous.
As we prepare for Christmas in the Kindergarten classroom, children participate in many lessons to help them grow in the virtue of charity. One example I use to help children understand charity is the birth of Jesus – for it is He who came to teach us the right way to speak, act, and think, with love. He taught us that loving and helping others will make us happy. He gave us a gift that will help us find happiness, not just at Christmastime, but always. To start the lesson, I show the class a wrapped gift with a tag. I tell my Kindergarteners there is something inside that represents a wonderful gift from someone who loves us very much. Each child can hold the present and guess what is inside. I read the clue written on the tag, “Luke 2:8-16: An angel appeared to nearby shepherds with ‘good tidings of great joy’.” Can they guess what the gift is now and who it is from? Inside is baby Jesus! Jesus is the most important gift given to us. I explain to the children that we can show our love for others by giving those we love special gifts.
Next, I read the children a story about a girl named Beth who wanted to give Christmas gifts to her family to show how much she loved them. However, poor Beth did not have any money and thought she wouldn’t be able to give any gifts. Then she remembered that some of the best gifts are gifts money can’t buy. Beth decided to give gifts of service and made cards for each of her family members detailing her intended act of service. Her favorite gift she made was for her grandfather – she promised to give him a hug first thing every morning for an entire month.
To end the lesson, each child chooses a gift of service to give to a family member and draws a picture of what they will do for them.
The simplest way we can express charity is to speak, act and think with love. As St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
AUTHOR: Heidi McInerney, Kindergarten Teacher