Preschoolers at Discovery Isle in Carlsbad learned about their local community through an unexpected hands-on teaching experience -- buying Christmas gifts for families in need.
“I think for them, knowing that there are families out there that are not as fortunate as they are, because I know they all say what they’re getting for Christmas and then when they would bring a gift in ---they were like ‘we’re going to get this because they don’t have that’ and they understand there is a difference -- there is diversity but they want to help out,” said Michelle Austen, Assistant Principal at Discovery Isle.
Staff at Discovery Isle decided to partner with the Christmas Bureau to help two local families who were not able to afford Christmas presents this year. A Christmas tree was set up in the school’s lobby and decorated with paper angels with each family member’s Christmas wish list.
“We spoke about it during our circle time to tell the children what we were doing and then we got the families involved, we wrote a note to them, and believe it or not – every single angel was taken off our tree and every present was bought for these two families who are very unfortunate and don’t have anything and weren’t able to have a Christmas,” said Michelle Austen, Assistant Principal at Discovery Isle.
60 presents were purchased and wrapped for the two local families – some of the gifts included everyday items like kitchen utensils or a watch.
“Children wanted a bike, books, they wanted board games—just normal things that we would take for granted that we would have, they never asked for anything big, it was just all very minimal things that they wanted. They’re awesome families and we were just delighted to help out because they need it,” said Michelle Austen, Assistant Principal at Discovery Isle.
In the process, the young students learned not only about others in their community – but the gift of giving.
“They loved coming in with the presents. They tell us what they got the person, the name of the person and it’s such a great thing. They know that they’re doing such a help for our community which is what it’s all about,” said Michelle Austen, Assistant Principal at Discovery Isle.
Next year, the Assistant Principal of Discovery Isle said they plan to do the same project and continue to help more families in need.