Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Devotions for Young Children
Unit of 5 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus Questions: How can we create devotionals for a young audience so they learn more about their faith? How can we share our faith, time, and talent with a group of young children?  

Unit Purpose:

In this faith-based Christian unit, students explore the concept of philanthropy and learn about the nonprofit sector. They brainstorm how they can use their talents to collaboratively create a faith-based devotional for younger children. This unit has a strong youth voice in determining needs and age-appropriate content.

Unit Duration:

Fourteen 45-Minute Sessions, plus time for conducting research, writing, small group work, and a field trip to an early-childhood center (about 6-8 weeks)

Unit Objectives:

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy.
  • identify faith-based nonprofits in the community related to young children.
  • investigate early-childhood needs related to literacy and faith development.
  • interview staff at local nonprofit early childhood centers as research for selecting the partner.
  • brainstorm features of a devotional-writing service-learning project.
  • identify middle school ELA standards addressed by the project.
  • collaborate with other learners to come to a consensus on the devotional project plan.
  • examine writing samples to determine appropriate features for their audience and final project.
  • brainstorm topics and verses for the devotional.
  • use pre-writing activities to plan each student's devotion.
  • select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
  • identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
  • describe the goals of the project and their impact.
  • describe the basic structure of a civil society organization.
  • explain how "separation of church and state" places religious institutions in the civil society sector.
  • give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
  • identify and describe how regional civil society organizations help the people in the region.
  • revise the draft to improve fluency and language.
  • read the draft to a young child to get feedback on the age-appropriateness of the writing and message.
  • make final edits to the draft using checklists and peer editing.
  • share his or her talents to create a high-quality product that serves young people in the community.
  • contribute time and talent to a team in order to bring the group project to a final stage, including an audio recording.
  • collaborate and use problem solving.
  • Optional: seek funds or organize a fundraiser to pay for printing costs to donate additional copies of the devotionals to other children in the community.
  • present the final devotional by reading parts to children at a local preschool.
  • share the devotional with children around the community along with an audio version.
  • identify learning objectives applied in the service-learning project.
  • take action to address an identified need.
  • evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
  • identify outcomes from the service.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

Students explore the need for devotionals for young children in their community. They research content and style suitable for the children they target for their devotional writing. Students work collaboratively to create a beautiful devotional that they share with many children in the community, and they present and read their devotionals to one preschool.

School/Home Connection:

Families serve as resources for information about local early childhood nonprofits and about age-appropriate content.

Bibliographical References:

JC Play Zone www.jcplayzone.com 

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

Lessons Developed By:

Sandra Franke
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Indiana District
Immanuel Lutheran School

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