15 Easy Ways For Children To Give Back to the Community

Raise kids who give back. 

Why is it important to give back to the community?

Giving children the opportunity to give back to the community helps them build empathy and a strong connection to their community. The process of giving back also builds many life skills, such as teamwork, goal setting, communication, time management, etc. 

“My Best Me”  emphasis on community:

The “My Best Me” curriculum dedicates an entire section to community. Helping children build the skills to interact with their community, ask for help when needed and give back when possible. Learning about community helps children learn more about themselves, how to tackle challenges, and most importantly it helps them feel a sense of belonging. Learn more about the features and benefits of the My Best Me curriculum.

15 Easy Ways For Children to Give Back to their Community:

  • Holiday Food Drive
  • Organize a community Clean up 
  • Clothing Donation – donate clothes that no longer fit
  • Start a School Recycling Program 
  • Make a handmade card for a kid’s in hospital 
  • Write a note to send to an old age home
  • Write a message of thanks to a community hero
  • Help raise money for a charity by holding a bake sale
  • Raise awareness about issues within your community 
  • Help at a community garden 
  • Write letters to the troops 
  • Set up a charity for your local animal shelter
  • Gather and donate old toys you have outgrown 
  • Donate used books or create a book exchange at your school
  • Build a window display the entire community can enjoy 

Teaching Children How to Ask for Help

Social Emotional Learning covers many topics and skills, including growth mindset, emotional order, setting goals, managing self + environment, increasing students’ hope, and much more. In this post, we will be discussing a skill that is the foundation of social-emotional learning, growth, and goal setting. HOW TO HELP PROMOTE ASKING FOR HELP

Asking for help can be difficult for both adults and students alike. Sometimes the simple ability to admit that you may need help can be hard. The truth is EVERYONE will need help at one point or another. This lifelong skill will not only help educators and students in the classroom but it is a skill that will be carried through life. 

Everyone needs help, so why is it so hard to ask for it?

What gets in the way of asking for help:

  • don’t believe asking for help will make a difference
  • prefer to do things themselves 
  • may be embarrassed or ashamed
  • view asking for help as a sign of weakness

As adults and educators we set the tone and are an example to students on whether seeking help is ok. It is important that we make sure we send a positive message about asking for help

How to empower children to ask for help:

  1. Normalize asking for help:

This means you must also accept that you may need help at times as well. View asking for help as a normal part of life and an important life skill. Be open with students about times you have struggled and asked for help. 

  1. Asking for help is a strength: 

Make sure to frame asking for help as a strength and acknowledge that it takes courage. 

  1. Give alternative ways to ask for help

Some students may be introverted, shy, or just not yet comfortable asking for help verbally or directly. Create tools in your classroom that encourage students to share when they struggle. 

  1. All questions are good question

Make sure to respond positively when a student asks for help. It is important that when a student asks for help you give them your undivided attention. If this isn’t possible at a particular time, set a time when you can do so. 

  1. Ask for professional help

As you promote asking for help within your classroom make sure to refer students who may need more in-depth help to a more appropriate source. When you feel out of your element or not qualified, seek professional help. 

All of these tools are great ways to create an environment that promotes asking for help. This in conjunction with promoting emotional intelligence can make a world of difference to a child. The My Best Me curriculum helps promote many skills needed to have a growth mindset and a healthy relationship with success and failure. If we are able to realize that failure is part of the success we can help children realize that asking for help can be part of success as well.

How to Connect with Students

Connecting with students has many great benefits. A positive student-teacher relationship promotes academic success, helps avoid negative behaviors, and promotes self-worth and good mental health. Studies have found that integrating social-emotional learning in the classroom has benefits for both students and adults that work with them.

3 strategies to connect with students

  1. Be Authentic- Create opportunities for students to share things about themselves, their likes, talents, dislikes, etc. The important thing when creating these activities and discussions is that you as the educator participate and allow your students to get to know you as well.

    Examples and ideas:
    • self-portraits: have children draw themselves and write down facts about themselves. Where were they born, how many people are there in their family, what is their favorite subject and why, favorite color, pets, etc. (Free printable)
    • What makes a great classroom board: together come up with what makes up a great classroom, have everyone decorate the board, and say one thing they feel would make the classroom amazing. 
    • Two truths and one lie: games are always a great way to break the ice, have fun and get to know each other.
    • Goal Setting: help your students set a goal and break down the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve that goal. This is a great way for you as the teacher to see what is important to your students and help them achieve that goal for themselves. (check in on these goals mid-year and again at the end of the year)(Free printable)

Being authentic also means you continue to learn and this means being able to admit when something didn’t work well even as the educator. Showing that starting over, regrouping and asking for help does not equal failure but rather it shows the ability to adapt and grow.

  1. Make yourself available- This one can be tricky for teachers because you not only need to make yourself available but also need to create boundaries so that you have time to recharge throughout the day. You can do this by setting specific times in which students can come for help or to discuss something. This can be in the morning before school, after school, and/or during lunchtime. 
  1. Be a Champion– Celebrate with your class. This can be as simple as attending a soccer game where many of your students are playing and/or attending. This is a great opportunity to cheer them on and build connections outside the classroom and connect with families. Celebrate not only the obvious success but celebrate growth and effort as well. Being a champion for your students means being seen as an adult that authentically cares about your student’s success and about them as individuals.
How to connect with students: Be authentic, be available, be a champion.

How to Find the Best EI Curriculum For Your School?

It is no surprise that in recent years there has been increased attention on the mental health of our students. As schools prepare for another year, it is important to take note of how you can better help your students, families, and staff. 

Why implement an Emotional Intelligence Curriculum in the classroom?

Emotional Intelligence promotes self-awareness, academic achievement, and positive behavior not only in the classroom but also out of the classroom. Many teachers have implemented some form of EI in the classroom in recent years.

93% of teachers believe EI has a place in the classroom and for good reason. EI helps students thrive but also helps create a more cohesive classroom environment through fewer disciplinary actions, increased academic performance, reduction in classroom disruption, and open communication. 

Why use an EI curriculum such as “My Best Me”?

Implementing an EI curriculum like “My Best Me” ensures best practices for the best results. Not only that, a good curriculum comes with good teacher support which helps take the stress out of planning and execution. A curriculum takes the guesswork out. 

How to choose the best curriculum for your school:

  • Consider the age: Many EI curriculums are written for a certain age group. For example, the “My Best Me” curriculum is written for students as young as preschool age, all the way up to high school. Other curricula may be written just for high school-age or elementary-age students.
  • Does it meet your budget constraints? Of course each curriculum has a cost attached to it and these costs must be taken into consideration when deciding which curriculum is best.
  • Does the curriculum come with support or training? It is important that teachers are supported when implementing new curriculum. Through training and teachers’ resources. “My Best Me” comes with not only teacher training but also provides teachers with everything they need to implement the lesson in their classroom.
  • Does the EI curriculum focus on what is pertinent to your school district and your families? Every EI program is unique and focuses on different topics. “My Best Me” for example focuses on Identity, Health, Community, Environment, and Economics.
  • Is the program evidence-based?

Hope Surpasses Resilience as Burnout Predictor

In the past, resilience has been used as the main predictor for educator burnout – but not anymore. Our studies have shown that measuring individual and collective Hope levels is more accurate at predicting educator burnout.

Hope vs. Resilience

If Resilience and Hope are used as measurements, we need to understand their definitions and see how they differ.

Our Definition of Hope: the belief that tomorrow will be better than today, and that you have the power to make it so.

The Definition of Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Already, we have a vastly different quality of life from these two definitions. While Hope provides a positive outlook on the future and a path for accomplishing that betterment, resilience simply states that recovery is possible if one has the capacity. Thus, resilience is only for those who already have a high capacity for it. We know that hardship reduces one’s ability to deal with stress and adversity without the proper strategies. Without Hope. So why would we lean on resilience as a predictor of burnout when it can diminish so quickly?

The Problem with Resilience

There is still something admirable in dealing well with crisis and returning relatively quickly to a pre-crisis state, like a rubber band. But, the more times rubber bands are stretched and returned to their pre-stretch state, the more likely that band will become less resilient over time and less likely to return to its ‘before’ condition. One teacher’s resilience today may be very different next year or even next month, and that difference will usually decline.

Resilience focuses on moving backward, to dealing with times of crisis so that we can return to our pre-crisis state. Moving backward doesn’t help anyone, especially if their pre-crisis state does not buffer from incoming crisis.

Not only is resilience likely to decline over time, but it puts an emphasis on trying to maintain a pattern, not change and improve it. We often discuss how creating new, healthier patterns through Hope work changes children’s lives, but what about teachers’ lives?

The Benefit of Hope

When you experience a crisis, Hope offers a way to improve your post-crisis circumstances. Resilience only sends you back to your pre-crisis circumstances.

Hope moves us forward. We have the power to make our tomorrow better than today, and certainly better than the yesterday resilience seems so fond of. Unlike resilience, Hope is more likely to stay steady or grow over time so if a teacher has measured hope levels, it is far easier to predict their risk for burnout.

The less Hope a teacher has, the more likely they will burn out. Even if a teacher starts as being highly resilient, that may not last. Our studies found that Hope acts as a buffer to crisis and adversity while resilience is only a way to hold out through the stress while still experiencing it full force, making the measurement less reliable over time.

Steadily improving one’s own circumstances builds upon itself. The longer a teacher has Hope, the more they will gain because it builds up, unlike resilience which takes away from itself. Over time, this makes Hope a much more reliable predictor.

Hope Reduces Turnover

The biggest indicator of teacher burnout is individual Hope, but the most significant school turnover predictor is collective Hope. If teachers have a hope community built in their school and feel collectively hopeful and supported by their school, they are far less likely to burn out. Reduced educator burnout also reduces staff turnover, creating a better place to work and learn.

Building a Hope Community Starts with You

Teachers, counselors, and school staff create Hope communities in their schools. My Best Me helps students with individual hope and helps teachers and schools with collective hope communities.

If your school isn’t using My Best Me yet, we would love to help you bring Hope to your school. Our sales team is ready to answer your questions and demo My Best Me for you. Contact us to start spreading Hope in your school.