How Volunteerism and Community Service Are at Hudson Montessori School's Core
Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, NJ) teaches its students to follow Maria Montessori's ideas about being good citizens of the world. Hudson Montessori gives back to its community in many ways, particularly amplifying its efforts during the holidays.
In the first few months of school, Hudson Montessori completed a coat drive with St. Peter's University, donated holiday candy in its Treats for Troops drive for Army personnel, and is currently in the midst of its Holiday Donation Drive for food for the St. Matthews Lutheran Church Food Pantry.
Childhood is when children begin to move away from the self-centered thinking of infancy. It's not only about "me"; it's more about "we." Volunteerism, charity, and community service are important ways the school shows its children how to care for each other.
Giving back to the community benefits the people on the receiving end, but the value to the giver is equally beneficial. The school shows students how important it is to connect with different groups of people—such as those in need, the elderly, community service personnel (fire, police, military), and our peers.
Through volunteering and community service, children learn how they have the power to impact another person's life. It teaches civic responsibility and how they can give back to the community supporting them.
While doing community work, children also learn how a society functions and how people come together to work as a team. Community service has intrinsic benefits, such as instilling optimism, joy, and a healthier outlook. Children can build self-esteem, empathy, and experience personal growth.
Parents are a child's first teachers. Each year, the parent volunteer arm at Hudson Montessori School features hundreds of parents volunteering for school activities. Parents model for their children the importance and beauty behind volunteering. Hudson Montessori encourages its parents to set the stage for their children; this is how the school says its community drives are met with success.
"Our parents are involved at our school, unlike any school I have ever seen," according to Gracy Jolly, director and school's founder. "We know it's one of the keys to a successful year for our children. We have found that when we build a strong community, our families are happier, our students are more confident in their academics, and, together, we feel supported."
Currently, and until the school goes on its winter break, it is coming together to serve the Jersey City residents who lack food security. The school has partnered with St. Matthews Lutheran Church, a longtime institution in the Jersey City community that runs a weekly food pantry that feeds over 500 families per week. Every Hudson Montessori school classroom—from 2-year-olds to toddlers—participates in this effort. As the classrooms collect goods, children build "canstructures" in their classroom, which is a memorable way of teaching the valuable lesson of "Giving is beautiful."
In November, leading up to Thanksgiving, the school recently collected over 80 coats to warm those in need. The school collaborated with coat drive partner St. Peter's University. Hudson Montessori Middle School diligently managed the multiple donation drop-off points throughout the school's campus and sorted the coats by size before sending them to St. Peter's University. One Middle School student, Ella, said, "It gave me a warm feeling in my heart to know I'm helping others."
After Halloween, as part of its Treats for Troops initiative, the school held a school-wide collection of Halloween candy for active-duty Army personnel. Children were asked to give a portion of their trick-or-treating stash. Students from every grade level donated portions of their candy. On Veteran's Day, Dr. Grace Sanvictores, the school's Middle School Director, passed along all of the candy collected to her brother, who is active in the U.S. Army.
The school's 30 Days of Thanks Initiative reminds our children to be thankful for what they have. The school's children (even as young as age 2) were asked what they were grateful for in the realm of goods and services (the school's annual school-wide theme is global trade). The school noted that many children were thankful for teachers, doctors, police officers, firefighters, train conductors, and more.
Hudson Montessori School encourages Jersey City parents and families to visit the school at its open houses to immerse themselves in what its students experience daily. Contact us to learn more about Hudson Montessori School's interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children aged 2 to eighth grade.