‘Tis the season, Mama’s! School is ending soon and often that means the end of other year-long programs as well. So, whether you have only a childcare provider or your list includes a teacher, ECE, EA, LST, bus driver, piano teacher, dance teacher, before/after school daycare provider(s), and more, we have some ideas for ways to thank them for all of their hard work. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to just call them ‘teacher’, but substitute that for whomever you want to thank.
Remember that a gift is not expected. Not all children give their teachers gifts, no matter what Pinterest tells you. If this is going to cause you stress, step back and relax. Your child isn’t going to fail the grade if you don’t send a gift to school on the last day. It’s appreciated, for sure, but not required.
Teachers unanimously say that a personalized card is always a treasured gift. Have your child make the card if they enjoy that sort of thing. Spend a few minutes to write a few lines about how much you appreciate the teacher and the work they do with your child and you are all set.
A DONATION IN LIEU OF A GIFT
As an alternative to giving them something tangible, you can chosen to give a donation somewhere in their name. For some ideas, see our Gift Guide on donations from Christmas. This is also a great option for group gifts – daycare, preschool or kindergarten classrooms with multiple teachers/ECE’s, school staff that you want to recognize (that secretarial team that makes the school amazing, for example). Note that at this late date, many places may not be able to mail you a card before school is out, so opt for a print out or email version.
Many teachers stock their classroom with their own books. Donate a book or two to your child’s classroom or teacher’s book shelf. Have your child pick their favourite story from home or something new by their favourite author.
A common default is going to be the Tim’s card, but find out if they prefer Starbuck’s instead or if they are that rare breed that doesn’t like coffee or tea at all. Show your child a cup from either place and ask them if they’ve seen it in their teacher’s hand. Chances are they can identify which their teacher prefers. Indigo cards are also a great idea for restocking/updating the classrooms book shelves or letting them pick a holiday read. LCBO is also a popular choice, though you might want to make sure that this will be a welcome gift. A favourite lunch place, somewhere they can buy school supplies or any other place you’ve heard them mention are some other ideas.
You’ll have to act now, but all it takes is one parent slipping a letter into each child’s backpack. Invite interested parents to send $5 or $10 per teacher to school in an envelope addressed to your child. Collect the cash, buy a larger gift, sign the card from all the kids whose parents donated money. I guarantee a lot of the parents who receive that letter will happily let you do the shopping on their behalf. Get a gift card for a spa, a nice restaurant or anywhere else where your teacher might want to spend a bit more money over the summer holidays.
Does your child constantly run out of pencil crayons and glue? Odds are good that his/her teacher does as well. Stock them up with markers, erasers, pencils, glue sticks, and whatever else they might need for next year. For bonus points – buy them a pack of personalized labels (just check the shipping dates to make sure they’ll get here on time!). Make sure they aren’t retiring next year though! Just to reiterate – gifts are appreciated, but not mandatory. Really. And while teachers will be appreciative of whatever you do give them, first ask yourself whether they would want 20 of whatever you plan on giving them. Twenty notes of appreciation? Yes. Twenty beach-scented candles? A bit overpowering. Twenty bedazzled photo frames? Eek.