Social-Emotional Learning

Six Resources to Get Students Involved in Community Service

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Children of all ages can benefit from volunteering and giving back to the community. By getting involved in community service, children can learn valuable life skills, such as compassion, responsibility and self-confidence.

Many of our programs organize service activities to give back to the community, including fundraisers, donations and clothing/shoe drives. AlphaBEST students at Southwest Elementary School organized a baby shower last December for the Salem Pregnancy Care Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Children and families donated new and gently used baby items and supplies, such as bottles, toys, food products and clothes. During the baby shower, children played games, like Pass the Pacifier, and discussed how spring symbolizes renewal and birth.

AlphaBEST students donated baby items to local community organization.

AlphaBEST students donated baby items to local community organization.

Volunteering is a great way to teach children gratitude and to foster a lifelong commitment to helping others in need. In honor of National Volunteer Week, check out the following resources to get children involved in community service:

10 Books to Teach Children About Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time when everyone reflects on the many things for which they are grateful, such as family, good health, job, etc. However, studies show there are benefits to expressing gratitude year-round. An attitude of gratitude yields positive emotions, like joy and happiness, and can lead to improved relationships and greater physical health. During the holiday season, children may have the tendency to become self-centered and focus more on themselves than others. Check out the following 10 books for children to help foster a sense of gratitude that will remain long after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes and teaching children about gratitudeThanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, grades 1 – 5. Through a collection of 16 thoughtful poems, young children learn the importance of being thankful for everyday things.
  • The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain, grades k – 3. Children can ride along with the Bear family on Thanksgiving Day as Brother and Sister learn about all the things everyone can be thankful for, such as faith, family and the huge holiday feast.
  • Andy and the Lion by James Henry Daugherty , grades k – 2. This retelling of Androclus and the Lion delivers a simple message of the power of gratitude.
  • Giving Thanks by Jake Swamp, grades k – 2. Based on the Thanksgiving Address of the Iroquois people, this version provides insight on the Native American tradition of greeting the world each morning by giving thanks to all living things. The Thankful Book teaching children about gratitude
  • The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, grades preschool – 1. This book hones in on the little things children can be thankful for, from reading and bath time to family celebrations and quality time with parents.
  • Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood, grades k – 3. Perfect for teaching children about gratitude with fun and play, this rhyming, colorful picture book combines collage and watercolors as Violet the Purple Fairy tells her own story of cooking with gratitude.
  • The Blue Daisy: A Lesson in Gratitude by Stacie Theis, grades k – 2. Filled with bright, colorful illustrations, The Blue Daisy delivers a simple message about gratitude and appreciation for what one has. Bear Says Thanks teaching children about gratitude
  • Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland, grades preschool – 4. Written as a celebration of family, friends, and the Thanksgiving holiday, this book encourages children to reflect on what they’re most thankful for during the holidays.
  • Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, grades preschool – 3. In this playful and imaginative tale of family and friendship, young children will receive a great lesson on sharing and gratitude.
  • Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood, grades preschool – 3. This inspirational book teaches children about reflection and the importance of gratitude.

What are some ways that you teach your children about gratitude?