The educators at Catholic Early Ed Care’s services in Gatton have found that making thankfulness part of everyday life has many benefits for children.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Kindergarten and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services work together to help children grow spiritually and have found gratitude to be a beautiful way to explore the idea of prayer and reflection in a positive and age-appropriate way.
Both services have carved timber trees that form the centrepiece of their prayer space and daily gratitude practice. Children are invited to write down the things they are grateful for and hang them on the leaves of the tree to share with their peers. A silent prayer box is provided for children who choose to practice gratitude in a personal way.
Both services have carved timber trees that form the centrepiece of their prayer space and daily gratitude practice.
Leaves of gratefulness
Children are invited to write down the things they are grateful for and hang them on the leaves of the tree to share with their peers.
A silent prayer
A silent prayer box is provided for children who choose to practice gratitude in a personal way.
Gratitude is emerging as a powerful force in modern psychology.
New research is showing that feeling grateful can lower blood pressure and offer relief from the stresses of everyday life. For children, gratitude has been linked to everything from higher levels of self-worth to optimism and improved physical and mental wellbeing.
“The daily gratitude practice was born out of our group discussions, or what we call our yarning circle,” said Catholic Early Ed Care OSHC Coordinator Jayde Nesbitt.
“Every afternoon, we come together to reflect on our day and share positive moments with one another in a safe, secure and supported environment,” she said.
“We use prayer cards to help structure our discussion around areas of interest to the children and things they might be grateful for.
“At the start of the year we provide prompts but it doesn’t take long for the children to start seeing all sorts of things to be grateful for. I’ve found that this practice promotes confidence and a sense of wellbeing.
“It can also be a very powerful way to help build resilience during difficult times. Recently one of the children came to me and told me they were sad about their grandpa being in hospital. I suggested that we have a think about what we could be grateful for and they came up with a special memory, which they put into the prayer box”.
Jayde said spiritual practices such as the yarning circle and gratitude tree were shared with the kindergarten to help support children transition from kindergarten to OSHC.
“OSHC can sometimes be daunting for younger children,” said Jayde. “The familiarity of the gratitude tree and our structured discussions provides continuity between the services and helps develop a sense of self and belonging”.
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