Helping Neighbors

K, 1, 2

Children work cooperatively to make a paper quilt displaying the strengths of the group as they make the neighborhood a better place. They brainstorm their personal strengths and needs of the community and make a plan to take action for the common good.

PrintOne 30-Minute Session, Plus time to plan and carry out a service project

The learner will:

  • identify the benefits of working cooperatively with others.
  • share his or her personal strengths and talents to make the neighborhood a better place.
  • define philanthropy as giving time, talent,and treasure or taking action for the common good.
  • 4” x 4” colorful construction paper, or cardstock paper squares
  • hole punch or needle and thread
  • yarn or strong glue
  • poster board or cardboard backing
  • common good: working together with other members for the greater benefit of all; promotes the welfare of the community
  • neighborhood: a number of persons living close to one another, or in such a way that they create a shared community; includes people we learn and work with, live near, and share the world with
  • cooperation: working together to benefit a group

• What action did our group take?
• How did we work together to do something bigger than we could do alone?
• How did you feel when we helped our neighbors?
• What would you like to do next time?
• Are we neighbors in this group?
• Who else can we call a neighbor?
• Can someone in a far-away country be a neighbor? How?


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Explain that cooperation can be hard sometimes, but that it is necessary to get things done. Knowing the people we are working with helps the work go more smoothly. Brainstorm tasks that are easier with cooperation. Discuss why knowing the others in a group make cooperation easier.

  2. Tell the children that they are going to get to know one another better by conducting interviews.

  3. As a group, come up with 5-7 general interview questions they will ask of one another. Keep track of the questions on chart paper.Facilitate the brainstorming with some guiding questions: What would you like to know about the others in this group? (favorite food, colors, music, hobbies) What kinds of things would you need to know to work in a group? (strengths, weaknesses, preferences, etc.)

  4. Make sure that the questions highlight some of the cultural differences in your group and allow children to identify their strengths and unique abilities, as well as the strengths and abilities of others.

  5. Oncechildren have come up with a good list of questions, pair them each up with another child who they don’t know very well.

  6. Have each child interview his or her partner. Tell them that they should write down or sketch something to help them remember the answers so that they can introduce the person to the larger group.

  7. Ask each child to introduce their interviewee to the rest of the group with details about what they have just learned.

  8. After the introductions, debrief with some whole-class discussion. Ask:

    • Do you know the people in the room better now?
    • Does it help to know the people you are working with?
    • Do you think it would help to know the people you live near?
  9. Themed Quilt: Children draw and decorate a quilt square about him- or herself and one about the person that he or she interviewed. Have children decorate a 4” x 4” construction paper or cardstock paper square. The picture in each square should depicta child using his or her strengths to make the neighborhood a better place.

  10. Bind the squares together with needle and thread or with a hole punch and yarn, or glue paper quilt squares to a poster board/ cardboard backing.

  11. Work with the children to find a place to donate the quilt in the neighborhood, such as a senior center.

  12. Children may also wish write a group letter explaining what they learned about cooperation and working together, and how the quilt exemplifies these lessons.

  13. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, and treasure or taking action for the common good. Make a plan to take action for the common good in the neighborhood.

Cross Curriculum 

In the unit,children have been reflecting on issues in the neighborhood or world that they care about. Work together to plan action that will help address an identified issue. This may be as simple as cleaning up a local park or a fundraiser for global hunger (though a nonprofit organization). Follow youth voice to plan and carry out the service. Displaying their quilt along with a letter of explanation is an act of advocacy. By sharing their learning with others, they are promoting cooperation and peace in their neighborhood.

Philanthropy Framework

  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. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.