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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.

Create a reverse advent calendar

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:

Make the Best Reverse Advent Calendar to Spread Love

The Reverse Advent Calendar that Gives Love to the Planet this Holiday Season

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)