When Mildred Hall kindergarten students think about their families, dogs and cats often follow mentions of parents, siblings and cousins.
As they learned that not all pets have the same loving homes as theirs, however, the students wanted to do something.
That’s when teacher Patricia Gallagher put together a fundraiser for the NWT SPCA.
“It was one of the best exploratory exercises I’ve done,” Gallagher said, explaining how the four and five year-olds were taught lessons about community and helping others around them.
In the school newsletter and in notes to parents, Gallagher explained the initiative, outlining what she hoped the students would learn and that there was no pressure to donate.
After just a week of leaving a jar outside the classroom, the students and staff were able to raise $140 from parents and other teachers in the school.
Gallagher said it was important that donations be in cash so youngsters could see the change fill the jar and the class could count the proceeds together.
They then brought the funds to the shelter and discussed ways that their raised money would help support the SPCA in feeding the animals and providing supplies like collars, beds and blankets so the creatures could be comfortable like the kindergartners’ pets at home.
While some of the students have pets from the SPCA, others needed to take the field trip to understand that not every animal has a home like theirs, but that there was a place the animals can go to be kept safe.
“I think money doesn’t mean a lot to kids,” Gallagher said, “but by raising money and seeing the animals, they can connect that when you go out of your way to do something nice, others benefit.”
The class will again return to the SPCA for a full tour in the coming weeks to better understand the non-profit’s operations. Since the initial visit, Gallagher said the class has raised another $60 to bring along.