Reverse Advent Calendars for the Classroom – 30 Days of Giving Back!
The holiday season is often associated with receiving gifts, but it’s also a time to embrace the joy of giving. Reverse Advent Calendars are a wonderful way to instill the spirit of generosity and empathy in young minds, especially within the classroom setting. Unlike traditional advent calendars that involve receiving a daily treat or gift, a Reverse Advent Calendar encourages giving back to those in need.
Crafting a Meaningful Experience for Students
Incorporating a Reverse Advent Calendar into the classroom creates a unique opportunity to educate children about compassion, empathy, and the importance of helping others. The concept is simple yet impactful: instead of opening doors to receive, students contribute an item each day to build a collection for donation to a charitable cause.
1. Setting Up the Calendar
It’s not too late! Start by introducing the idea of a Reverse Advent Calendar to the class. You can make it for a week, 2 weeks, or the entire month – whatever works for your class. Create a visible and accessible collection point within the classroom where students can deposit their daily contributions. Designate a box or an area decorated festively to ignite excitement and engagement.
2. Fostering a Spirit of Giving
Brainstorm a list with the class and encourage students to bring in a specific item each day for the number of days leading up to the holidays or have students sign up for certain items. Donations can vary from non-perishable food items, clothing, toys, school supplies, personal hygiene products, or gift cards. This process not only cultivates generosity but also teaches children the significance of giving to those less fortunate.
Nurturing Empathy and Compassion
As students participate in this collective act of giving, discussions about empathy and the impact of their contributions can be integrated into classroom activities. Engage them in conversations about empathy, the importance of helping others, and the broader societal impact of their donations.
3. Educating Through Experience
Use this opportunity to educate students about the recipients of their donations. Discuss the needs of different communities, introduce stories of individuals or families who benefit from charitable donations, and highlight the positive impact their contributions can make. Help them understand the value and the cost of everyday items – like a toothbrush – that we may take for granted.
Cultivating Lifelong Values
The Reverse Advent Calendar is more than a charitable activity; it’s a lesson in empathy, gratitude, and social responsibility. It fosters values that extend beyond the holiday season, shaping children into compassionate and socially conscious individuals.
4. Reflection and Celebration
At the culmination of your collection period, gather the class for a reflection session. Discuss the collective effort, the impact of their contributions, and the joy of giving. Celebrate the students’ generosity and the difference they’ve made in the lives of others.
Spreading Kindness Beyond the Classroom
Extend the spirit of giving beyond the classroom by involving the school community or collaborating with local charities. Organize a visit to a charitable organization to deliver the collected items, allowing students to witness firsthand the impact of their contributions in a respectful way.
5. Continuing the Legacy
Encourage students to carry this spirit of giving into their everyday lives. Emphasize that small acts of giving can make a significant difference and inspire them to continue giving back to their communities even after the holiday season concludes.
The Reverse Advent Calendar in the classroom isn’t just about collecting items—it’s about nurturing a culture of empathy, kindness, and giving. It’s an opportunity to instill lifelong values and empower students to make a positive impact on the world around them. Let’s embrace this season as a time not only for receiving but also for giving back and spreading joy to those in need.
The 365give website has more ideas about 365 days of giving or you can read more about reverse advent calendars and holiday giving in these blog posts: