The Joy of a Garden
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.

The picture book, The Gardener, tells the story of a girl who makes a difference for the community and people around her by sharing her love for plants. The children may share their own personal interests to bring joy to others. 

PrintOne 45 Minute Session

The learner will:

  • respond to the story The Gardener by describing the main character's actions and motivations.
  • define philanthropy as giving of time, talent, and treasure for the common good.
  • brainstorm ideas for volunteering to make the world more beautiful for the common good.
  • Copy of the book The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
  • Venn diagram
  • Stewart, Sarah. The Gardener. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1977. ISBN: 0374425183
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask, "What do you love about plants, flowers, gardens, or another growing thing?" Brainstorm a list of things the children love. Then ask how they could brighten someone's day by sharing the thing they love. 

  2. Show the cover of the book The Gardener and tell listeners this is a story about a young girl named Lydia Grace Finch who has to leave her grandmother's lovely farm with a garden to go and live with her Uncle Jim in the city. Let's find out how she does in the city with her love of growing things.

  3. Read the story, allowing the learners to enjoy the story. Ask the children to describe Lydia (e.g., loving, brave, creative, smart, selfless).

  4. Create a Venn diagram to compare her life in the city with her life on the farm. Label one circle The Farm and the other The City. Ask the children for ideas of what to write in each circle and in the part where the circles overlap. They may include descriptions of the places, how Lydia acts in each place, what she does each day, who she sees, and what she feels in each place.

  5. Discuss the following questions:

    • Why do you think Uncle Jim never smiles?
    • How did Lydia Grace's grandmother inspire her?
    • What is the definition of philanthropy? (Giving time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good.)
    • How did Lydia Grace share her time, talent, and treasure for the common good? (She shared her time by growing flowers, her talent of gardening, and her treasure of her seeds.)
    • How did she show commitment to her work of making the world more beautiful?
    • In what ways do you think we can be like Lydia Grace?
  6. Brainstorm ideas for making the world more beautiful:

    • plant flowers in a garden or in pots
    • take care of a community garden
    • pick up litter
    • make posters and write letters to raise awareness about an issue

    Ideas may come from people who inspire them like Lydia's grandmother inspires her. 

    They may think of people who would appreciate the beauty children can bring with their time and talent.

  7. Come to a consensus to choose something the group can do to make the community more beautiful.