Teaching Generosity: The Quiltmakers Gift

I work at a school that is mainly upper-middle class, with little poverty.  Many of these kids don’t realize how lucky they are, and how much they have.  So a few years ago, we read two special books called The Quiltmaker’s Gift, and The Quiltmaker’s Journey, by Jeff Brumbeau. The books are about a quilt-maker who creates beautiful quilts that she gives to people in need. The quilt-maker gave us an idea! We could collect blankets, towels, pillows, and sheets for people who need these items in our city!

So we began organizing families to give used blankets, sheets, quilts, towels, and pillows to local shelters. What better way to teach kindergarteners that it is better to give than receive, than by giving to families who are in need in our community?  We collected the items and brought them to three shelters after school one week in May.  The shelters gave a short tour and the kindergarteners told the tour guides the story of the quilt maker and how she had inspired us.  It was such a positive experience that we decided to make it a tradition!  We have now done this project for four years!

My students dropping off the donations at the shelter!

When we started this unit, I was teaching half-day kindergarten.  Given the three-hour time frame, we integrated all subjects together.  Over the years, we combined these units of study:

  • Literacy- Questioning the Author and readers response journals with the books The Quiltmaker’s Gift  and The Quiltmaker’s Journey by Jeff Brumbeau.
  • Social Studies- Needs and Wants Unit, with a community service project of collecting, sorting, creating, and donating blankets to local homeless shelters
  • Science- Materials in Our World: Fabric Unit.
  • Math- Radial (quilt) patterns

This book and unit created such awesome conversations with my students.  Some of the topics covered included:

  • -What is rich?  What is poor?
  • -What is generosity?  What is selfishness?
  • -What are some of your possessions that are precious to you?  What could you live without?

If you like these topics and want to try this unit with your family, class, church, or school, check out my resources at my TeachersPayTeachers store here!  Enjoy!

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