“If you want to help, help, help, we can do it. We can clean, we can help, help, help.” A group of preschoolers sang these lyrics spontaneously after putting everything back in their room’s dress-up corner. Cleaning up a mess is one the first ways our students learn that they can be of assistance to others. Preschoolers are applauded for helping others pick up blocks, toys, and books even when they didn’t take them out. Research shows that it is the “action” of helping that motivates children to be of assistance to others in the future.
At The Meher Schools, we love awakening children’s motivation to be of service from the time they are very young. Preschool teachers point out ways they can assist their classmates, helping a new student to learn their way around, offering comfort to someone who is hurt, making someone a picture. In the elementary school, students go in pairs to the Office when someone get hurt and needs first aid. It’s touching to see the patience and positivity of the helping partner, who waits and offers good cheer as their friend gets treatment.
Older children in preschool are always encouraged to help younger ones. Sometimes older elementary students become buddies or pen pals with children in lower grades. Children in upper grades sponsor bake sales and help younger children at our community events like school-wide dances.
Our school community, which includes parents, children, teachers, administrators, support and maintenance staff, and board members, coalesces again and again to lovingly treat each other as family in the helping spirit of “All of us taking care of all of us.” There are GoFundMe me campaigns and meal trains for people in need. During the early stages of the pandemic, parents organized a fundraising campaign to ensure that the teachers would be paid during our temporary closure, raising an astounding $250,000. The school also responded individually to anyone who was in need.
Our school community has long history of supporting those in need in the surrounding community. For several years, the school hosted a children’s gently-used-clothing and -toys giveaway on campus, attended by families struggling to provide for their children. This program eventually became part of White Pony Express. Currently five of our families are working on a project at White Pony Express to create backpacks filled with essential supplies for people in dire need.
How wonderful if children grow up believing that their actions make a difference to others.