Elementary Teachers have the same class of kids the whole year. They are usually responsible for between 20 and 35 kids and so they really get to know those kids a lot better than secondary teachers and college professors. Giving your child’s teacher a gift this Christmas season is one way you can show your appreciation for the work they do.
Good Christmas gifts for elementary teachers come in three categories: supportive gifts, appreciative gifts, and recreational gifts.
Supportive Christmas Gifts
Christmas gifts that support your child’s classroom are always a good idea. Every elementary teacher I’ve met spends some of their own money on the classroom to help it run smoothly. While student teaching, I bought 2 packages of pencils and Kleenex just for day to day use. I also bought supplies for hands-on lessons I wanted to teach.
In my article about buying school supplies I mention that Kleenex and other supplies can be purchased later in the year. Elementary classrooms do not need 30 boxes of Kleenex in September. They may need 30 boxes between November and March however. Kleenex would be an example of a great supportive Christmas gift for elementary teachers. Any other item that is needed in the day-to-day running of a classroom is a very appreciated and valued Christmas gifts. Pencils, pens, art supplies, paper, and kids books support your child’s learning environment.
A Christmas gift certificate from Kiva.org is a great supportive Christmas gift idea. Kiva.org is an amazing resource on many levels. It is a microloan nonprofit organization that allows users to have an account that they loan money out from. Each user gives out loans in $25 increments and when it gets repaid it goes back into the user’s account to allow them to re-loan. Kiva offers the ability to purchase gift certificates. Giving your child’s elementary teacher a Kiva.org gift certificate would allow them to integrate geography, culture, finance, and responsible charity into the classroom for years to come. Students could decide which loans to fund and track the progress of the loan. This is an evergreen Christmas gift because your child’s elementary teacher could continue using it as a lesson until they retire. When they retire, they can either give the account to a younger teacher or they can withdraw the money and you have doubled your gift into an appreciation gift for retirement.
To support unique hands-on lesson plans, gift cards are the way to go. I did a lesson on Numbers through Culture where kids got to used play dough and Popsicle sticks to make Babylonian numbers. Children also got to use paint and paint brushes to make Chinese Numbers. In total the supplies costed me around $40 at WalMart. Christmas gift cards would have made that lesson supported by a couple of parents.
If your child has special needs a good Christmas gift might be a trusted resource book about your child’s condition. Mainstream classroom teachers are not given much training in special needs so additional information is always needed to support the classroom.
By giving a supportive Christmas gift this year, your child’s elementary school teacher can spend her hard earned money in other areas.
Appreciative Christmas Gifts
Most often teachers receive appreciative gifts for Christmas. Two types of appreciation gifts that make me feel the most appreciated are home made gifts and symbolic gifts.
For Christmas, home made gifts for teachers are special. No matter how long they’ve been teaching, you can still bring a smile to their face by sending your child to school with a Christmas gift or card they made themselves. I have every handmade card and gift I was ever given by a student. Make it practical and you will help your child’s teacher feel appreciated for many Christmas seasons to come. Many craft stores have classes you can take to make useful Christmas gifts. Blankets, hats, scarves, coffee mugs, and key chains are just a few of the appreciative Christmas gifts you or your child can make for an elementary teacher.
Symbolic gifts are often more expensive but also nice. I was completely touched and shocked when a student gave me a gold plated leaf ornament with a touching poem attached. Apples are traditional symbols of teacher appreciation. Your child’s teacher probably has a ton of apple gifts already. Think of another symbol of your appreciation in order for your Christmas gift to be unique.
Recreational Christmas Gifts
Recreational gifts allow teachers to realize that they can have a life outside of the classroom. As a teacher it is hard to remember to take time for yourself. Recreational Christmas gifts help your child’s teacher to relax and have fun. Typical relaxing gifts like tea, bath salts, chocolate, candles, and spa supplies work just as well on teachers as they do on you.
To help your child’s teacher to have fun this Christmas break again typical gifts like books, board games, movies, movie tickets, or tickets to other attractions work well. Have your child ask the teacher what he or she likes to do for fun. Supporting a teacher’s recreational hobbies through a thoughtful Christmas gift tells a teacher that you respect them as a whole human being not just a teacher.
In the end, whatever Christmas gift you choose, your child’s teacher will smile upon opening a well thought out gift this Christmas season.