During the holiday season, Preschool – Grade 1 students, along with their Visual Art teacher Liz Bellenger made gifts of gratitude for members of the faculty and staff at Mount Vernon.

In Art, the students studied the King Midas painting by Michelangelo. While exploring this artwork, they discussed the story behind it and how people are more important than money.

The students’ teacher, Liz Bellenger, was thinking about how often children gave her artwork as a gift, and it occurred to her that they don’t always have the resources or opportunity to give gifts to those who impact them. So, she wanted to give them the chance to do just that. In addition, the project helped encourage empathy while thinking through how people who work hard every day might not get thanked enough.

While creating their gifts of gratitude, students could use any materials they wanted, but Mrs. Bellenger did suggest that they could use beads to make jewelry, thank you cards with watercolors, or tile coasters made with ceramic tiles and Sharpies.

Additionally, students were encouraged to write their name and something/someone they were grateful for on a piece of paper and place it in a Gratitude Box in the art studio.

“I loved seeing the joy on their faces when I would take a group of them to run around campus, delivering their gifts to the people they chose.”
– Liz Bellenger

Landon Newlin gave his clay pieces to Ms. Fennelly because he was grateful that “she takes us on expeditions”, and to Nurse Anna “because she takes care of us.”

Matthew Neylon was surprised when Kindergarten student Sarah Sartori made a gratitude gift for “Tall Guy.”

“The surprise gratitude gifts served as a reminder that our students are always watching, and we never know when they are seeing something that impacts them, so we must always be present, incredible role models.”
– Liz Bellenger

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