Friday, May 23, 2008

That Time Again

Last year I wrote a lengthy post about teacher gifts. I feel like I should qualify this by saying that there is no obligation to give gifts to teachers and I believe teachers are truly grateful for any gift, if they see it as a symbol of your gratitude. I wrote the post just in case people were looking for some guidelines and I do stand by my suggestions.

This year Harper has been in preschool and it is the first time I have had to wonder/worry about an end-of-the-year gift. (She didn't start until January so I was off the hook for the holidays.) I decided to have Harper decorate some blank note cards for the teachers to use. I like this gift idea for several reasons: Harper could do it on her own, the gift is consumable, it is clear we put some time into it, and - if the teacher isn't going to use the cards - they can be tossed into the recycling bin. Not that you need a tutorial, but here's how we made the cards.

1) I folded blank (unlined) 5 x 8 index cards in half.

2) Harper used mini-cookie cutters and washable paint to stamp designs on the cards. I thought about hand prints, but we probably would have needed larger cards.

3) I paired each card with an "invitation" sized envelope from an office store. I think the paint, index cards (sold in a set of 500!), and envelopes came to less than $20. A good investment, considering all the materials we have left.

4) I will bundle a set of nine cards for each teacher (three from each color scheme) and tie it with some wired ribbon.

Here's a sample of the cards:

An older child could certainly draw pictures on the front of the cards. We made these as parent gifts when I taught first grade and they were adorable. Harper isn't so into drawing yet and I knew she would get tired of that before we made 27 cards. The stamping was nice because she really did do it totally on her own and each card is unique because she was fairly random with the stamping. Sometimes the cookie cutters would get a bubble of paint in them, which is how some of the shapes ended up with a little swirly thing inside them.

We don't do a lot of crafty stuff at home and Harper was thrilled with the painting element, even though it took a grand total of about 20 minutes to stamp all the cards. She really wanted pink paint, which I didn't have, and was fascinated when we made pink by mixing red and white paint. I am going to try to make myself do more of this kind of thing with her, especially during times when I have someone to help out with Michael.

Because we only have three teachers this year, I'll probably also buy small-ish gift cards for either a coffee shop or book store and include them with the cards. Most importantly I will write thank yous to all the teachers for helping Harper to have such a fabulous first school experience. I'm also going to write notes to the program director and the nurse who were so great in helping us work through ways to keep school safe for Harper and her peanut allergy. They deserve a big thanks for putting up with this all year:


Swistle said...

Those came out so cute! You know what would be cute: a child old enough to write letters could add a monogram to the cards.

Marie Green said...

Oh, what a great idea! My kids will love doing that, and it totally fits my "gift needs" for their teachers this year. Also, it's supposed to rain on Sunday, so I'll be able to have something up my sleeve to entertain them.

Also, I think my girls had those same tan shoes that Harper has on- are hers from Target?

Envoy-ette said...

That's an excellent idea. In the past I have overdone the end of year presents. This year, we are sooo broke that she is going to get my freebie Avon kit for feet! Don't worry, it's still packed tight! LOL!

Erin said...

Great post. Also, Harper looks SO TALL. Can you please stop that? She is growing too fast!

Anne said...

I'm a huge believer in teacher gifts. Especially the thank-you note part of the gift.

A good teacher can make or break a child's experience with education. I just want to let them know that I know that, and am thankful for their hard work.

I do like your notecard idea! I may have to steal it in the future. Archie has three teachers and, like, ten therapists so I need to find a nice (and economical) gift for each of them. John and I baked for Christmas, and this notecard idea may be our spring gift. Thanks for the suggestion!

Astarte said...

What a great idea!!! Those cards are adorable!!! I would use them if someone gave them to ME. Genius!!!

Hillary said...

I love this idea. I love that the gifts don't cost all that much...I think we have a tendency to overdo some things. I can hardly believe that a former crafts director rarely does crafty things in her house. What happened Crafty Kelsey? Just kidding, of course.