There is truth in the old saying “it’s the thought that counts”, and when it comes to buying something for the teachers who hold a special place in your child’s heart, rest assured a gift that has been carefully thought about means more than you can imagine.

It’s getting close to that time of the year when we not only scramble to find gifts for our loved ones, but also those that we appreciate for the many ways that they have helped and supported us. Often teachers are at the top of that list. It can be challenging to find a meaningful gift for somebody that although we have a close relationship with in some respects, we do not necessarily know them in a personal capacity. How do you show your child’s teachers that you appreciate the ways that they know your child so well, that they are true partners in shaping your child to be an amazing person, and have supported you to be a great parent?

A box of chocolates or bottle of wine are surely appreciated by your child’s teachers, but sometimes you would like to give something that is more personal, and you know will be treasured for years to come. We recently asked a group of teachers the types of gifts they have received, that have made them feel truly valued:

  • Once I received a handmade card, cookies and hand picked flowers. I cried it was so lovely. The child had been allowed to choose and pick the flowers (dandelions included), made the card and helped with the cookies. It was perfect.
  • I love Christmas, so a christmas decoration for my tree (handmade or chosen from a shop by the child) is a winner for me. I love that my tree each year is not all matchy-matchy and that many of the decorations on it bring back lovely memories of children and families I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years.
  • Anything handmade is beautiful. Painting by your child, homemade jam, a photo (anything really, teachers don’t expect gifts)
  • A tea cup is a winner. I know after a successful morning teaching the young minds in my centre, I enjoy sitting down to a warm cup to help boost my energy levels again.
  • A children’s story book with a message from the family and child written inside. Then when I read that story I can recall all of the special moments shared with that child.
  • Personal gifts are cute. I’ve received mugs with children’s photos or drawings on them, hand made things are always appreciated.
  • Last year I was gifted a nail voucher – perfect to get a pedi done before my overseas holiday.
  • Handcream, teachers love handcream!
  • Personalised stationery, who wouldn’t love a notebook with their name on it?
  • A puppet for storytelling. It can be hard to build up your own teaching resources, and a puppet chosen by your child is sure to be popular with other children at circle time.
  • A voucher to a local cafe. We teachers don’t often go out for lunch, we tend to pack our own leftovers. Going to a cafe is a bit of a treat!
  • A potted plant, because who doesn’t like potted plants?
  • A magazine subscription was once given to our whole team by a family. It was the gift that kept on giving.
  • One year the child and parents wrote out words using the letters of my name to describe me, it was so heart felt, I loved it & look back on it often!
  • I once received a piece of white material in which the child had stamped their feet and hands in different colours of paint. it is amazing and something which I really value.
  • Perhaps ask your child. They are often quite perceptive and notice small things about other people that we adults don’t. They may just remember that time a teacher said “I wish I had some blue earrings to match my scarf”.
  • A really nice sunhat/winter hat. When you are standing out in the sandpit, covered in mud, having a stylish hat can make you feel a little bit glamorous.

If your budget doesn’t stretch far enough to purchase gifts for teachers, a handmade card with a few meaningful words inside can be a the most memorable gift ever.

Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya was born in Lower Hutt and went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone Kindergarten. A qualified ECE, she studied at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked with home-based educators, in community-based childcare and in kindergarten. With childhood memories of reading books and writing stories, combined with her passion for all things social media, Sonya segued into her role with us at Storypark as social media manager.

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  1. Debbie Lachance-Burwell November 12, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for a nice article with some nice ideas. One comment however, perhaps you might want to reword the “pot plant” suggestion. While I am sure that many teachers would love to unwind with some homegrown after school it’s not quite mainstream, or legal, yet. Unless of course you meant a “potted plant”? 😉 Because that of course is a whole different thing.
    Just thought I’d mention it.




    1. Angela Macdonald November 14, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Thanks Debbie, there’s a very big difference between the two, thanks for pointing this out 🙂


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