I miss my days of teaching little five year olds. The excitement of the classroom, the energy, and the eager anticipation. I loved hearing their expressive stories during Writer’s Workshop. And watching them jump and dance and sing during Movement time. And watching their faces light up, so vibrant as they learned a new concept, or began sounding out their own words. Whether it was reading or counting or creating a project on their own. I miss the moments, but will cherish them forever. Those children impacted my life greatly, and now, as a mother, those experiences shape my teaching of my own children.
a classroom in a recently built Jamaican primary school
Education transforms lives
I am making the choice to homeschool my children, but that is a choice that many parents are not able to make. However, every parent should be able to send their children to a safe and stable school that will embrace and teach their children the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful and independent citizens in the world.
Some of my kindergarten students lived in homeless shelters. Most were on free school lunches. Their school was a safe place to come to and thrive and learn. The parents of my students knew that their children were in a safe and stable environment. A kind teacher to read them stories, teach them about our amazing universe, and embrace them. A warm school for the day and a hot meal to eat. All because in their community, their public education was paid for and valued. All children deserve to go to a school where they are protected, have motivated and respectful teachers, have clean and safe water and toilets, and have the simple educational tools necessary to learn.
I can feel confident that my teaching and my school gave my students some of the necessary steps to succeed. Certainly perseverance and hard work and parental involvement
Other children around the world, and in other places in the United States, are not as fortunate as my students were. Some don’t have working heat or clean water, or they have to walk over an hour to even arrive. I have had the privilege to visit some schools that are benefitted from charities and contributions from those who are able to invest in the future of children and their education.
Visiting children in need
Firsthand experience seeing schools without heat or running water or stable desks or solid walls will open your eyes to how fortunate my children and my students are. But all children, no matter their background or culture or race or ethnicity deserve equitable access to education. I have been blessed to visit students on various trips around the world.
I visited schools in Uzbekistan, while on tour with the Army.
And I more recently visited a primary school in Jamaica, which I will write about more extensively soon!!
How can a stuffed toy help children around the world?
A solid education is a first step in helping children and families escape poverty and child labor against immeasurable odds. Education for safety, nutrition, health, self-respect, literacy, and the list goes on. Because education has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities, it gives children knowledge skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves.
I am excited to team with the IKEA Foundation to spread the word on how to help impoverished children around the world. This is an amazing foundation. The IKEA Foundation is the largest global corporate donor to Save the Children and UNICEF, since 2003, more than 11 million children have been impacted through 99 projects in 46 countries. This project has donated over $90.4 million, all funding projects that help to improve children’s education.
For every soft toy and children’s book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1.00 to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children. The donations from soft toy purchases from IKEA benefit UNICEF and Save the Children to train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials in the schools, help rebuild schools, provide better water and toilet facilities, and increase school attendance rates.
How does the IKEA Foundation work?
Your child gets an adorable soft toy (or children’s book), and Save the Children and UNICEF are given $1.00 to be used towards children’s education around the globe.
We recently had to buy some shelves from IKEA, so it was the perfect opportunity to donate money to this wonderful organization, while at the same time making my children very happy :) Each of my children got to choose one stuffed toy. John chose the dragon and May loved the Little Red Riding Hood. John and “Dragon” are now inseparable.
These soft animals and dolls are adorable, and you can feel fine about your child playing with them as they adhere to REACH safety standards. You can read more about IKEA’s commitment to health and safety here.
Please visit the IKEA Foundation to learn more about this incredible cause supporting equitable education for all children.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are always my own.