This morning as I was on my way to school I decided to run by the local Starbucks to grab a coffee. As I put my hand out the window to pay, the barista informed me that my drink had been paid for by the person in front of me. That made my day and motivated me to do some thinking on my way back to school. I began to think of the concept and why I hadn’t shared that concept with my preschoolers before. Every year, I introduce them to Dr. Becky Bailey and her four icons to help children calm their bodies. This year, I learned about a book called, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and we implemented an “invisible” bucket in our classroom. So I thought to myself, why not begin to teach “Paying it Forward.”
I really did not want the children to feel like they “had” to Pay it Forward as that is not the reason to be doing it at all! I reflected all the way to school and decided that they best ideas come from the children so why not just introduce the topic and see what the children do with it. I began by telling the children about my experience this morning and how it made me feel. The children began to ask questions such as: Did you know the person? Do you have to buy people stuff all the time? and What does Pay it Forward mean? The small conversation with my friends at snack (only about four) motivated and excited one of my little guys. He asked me to bring a piece of paper over and begin to document his ideas. I started writing as the two children began to talk back and forth. The boy shared that we should do something for the classroom next door. The girl decided that we should use the extra money we raised to buy the classroom next door a gift. The two children talked back and forth until they finally decided they needed to bring it to the attention of their peers.
The boy shared what we talked about at snack in entirety and then asked for a piece of paper. He started asking friends to give him ideas of ways to pay it forward to the other children, families, and teachers in our building. The children began to shout out their ideas and the boy would sound out the words or ask a friend (or teacher) for help. Some children asked to think on it and added more ideas later. The children decided they would like to spend that extra money to Pay it Forward to the classroom next door. We secretly found an item off their wishing tree and can not wait to surprise them with their new gift.
During the morning, the children spent time Paying it Forward in other ways. They created pictures for each other, added notes to coat pockets for children to see when they were getting ready to go outside, helped pick up items that had fallen, and shared with others their next idea. One child said, “I like watching their face. They were surprised but did not know it was me!”
We plan on continuing to add to our list. Do you have a great way to pay it forward? Please share with us!