Beyond ‘Thank You’

It’s November, and this month St. Johns Spartans of all ages will spend some time learning about, practicing, and putting into action gratitude, which is defined as letting others know you see how they’ve helped you. 

Spend some time this month talking with your child about gratitude. Ask them:
Think back to the spring earlier this year. School was canceled for the rest of the year and many parents were working from home, but many workers continued to help us by doing their jobs. It is not too late to thank them. How could you express your gratitude?

What are some ways you thank the people who help you, particularly family members?

Kids can also ask adults to share with them their thoughts on gratitude. Ask an adult:

  • Share a story of a time when you showed your gratitude to someone. How did that feel? How did the person respond?

“Being grateful means so much more than just saying thank you,” says Head of Lower School Mr. Otis Wirth. “Gratitude in children involves perspective taking (the ability to look beyond your own point of view) and emotional knowledge (the ability to monitor and discriminate your own emotions.) What’s fascinating is that children begin to develop these skills around ages 3-5.”

So, it’s never too early (or too late!) to start thinking and talking about gratitude. 

Thanksgiving is a special holiday and a time when we reflect on all the many things we are thankful for. As a family, why not create a gratitude tree? Find a vase or jar, place sticks in it, and then put it in a prominent place. Trace leaves on paper and cut them out, and then have each member of the family write things they are thankful for on their leaves. Once they are done, punch holes in the leaves and hang them from the sticks. Now you have a gratitude tree! 

Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday season, make time to reflect on all the things you are thankful for as a family. Feel free to add to the tree as you think of more things!

“ When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

As a family, discuss people who have helped your family, either directly or indirectly. Plan a way to express your gratitude over the next few weeks.

You can leverage even more conversations at home this month by reading some books about gratitude. Here’s a list of great gratitude books at every level:

Lower School
The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera (PK-2)
Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora (PK-2)
Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki (PK-2)
Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood (PK-2)
Give Thank You a Try by James Patterson (PK-K)
Gracias~Thanks by Pat Mora (K-2)
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr (K-2)
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson (K-3)
Splat Says Thank You by Rob Scotton (K-3)
An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton (K-3)
Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes (K-5)
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp (K-5)
A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson (1-5)
Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Grades 5-8)

Middle & Upper School
Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Grades 5-8)
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Grades 6-9)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (Grades 6-9)
Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Grades 6-9)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Grades 6-12)
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Grades 9-12)
Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins (Grades 9-12)
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (Grades 9-12)
Now I’ll Tell You Everything by Phylis Reynolds Naylor (Grades 9-12)
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (Grades 10-12)


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