COLUMBUS, Ohio — The kids of the Learning Experience — New Albany realized wishes aren’t just for birthdays.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation celebrates National Make A Wish Day by bringing hope and strength to children with chronic illnesses. The preschoolers at The Learning Experience are learning what it means to give back.
Since the beginning of April, the schools have been raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The students at The Learning Experience in New Albany are all taking Philanthropy 101, where the first lesson is kindness.
“It’s the size of your heart that matters and not just your ability to do certain things. It’s just about kindness and what you can do for other people,” said Rachel Phillips, a classroom teacher for the 3- and 4-year-olds.
The second lesson is empathy. Rachel Phillips will be the kids’ last teacher before they enter kindergarten and said it’s important kids not only know their ABC’s, but know how to empathize and care for others. Throughout the month, they’ve had the chance to learn about Make-A-Wish and meet some of the kids in the program.
Phillips said while sickness can be a complex idea for kids, it’s important to learn that there’s no age limit to giving back.
“It helps kids, and they want to help their peers, so it’s important for them to learn that kids can help, too,” said Phillips.
Follow-through is the third lesson in Philanthropy 101. The Learning Experience has a nationwide partnership with Make-A-Wish and raised more than $1.2 million in the past month. Thousands of dollars have been raised through kids’ artwork. The kids worked hard to put together splattered art collages, handprints and a quilt of their art.
Classroom teacher Ashely Moore assisted the kids along the way.
“It’s something that they love to do, and it’s something that they can relate to. I really love their learning about the Make-A-Wish Foundation because then they can learn as they’re little that they are able to give back to others,” said Moore.
The last and most important lesson is to treat others how you want to be treated. Phillips tells her class how you treat others can go a long way, even as far as making someone’s wishes come true.
“When I’m talking to them about their behavior, I’m always just like, ‘I just want you to be the best you possible and that’s my job.’ I just feel like teaching them about philanthropy and kindness is the best way to start that,” said Phillips.
Phillips’s class hosted a silent auction where friends and family members could bid on the children’s artwork. Community members can also donate by visiting the learning experience’s Facebook page.