While many children are excited about what might be waiting under the tree for them on Christmas morning, others are not so fortunate. 

At Bundaberg Christian College’s Chrysalis Early Learning Centre growing hearts and minds also includes learning to help and serve others. One of the ways they do this is through Operation Christmas Child. Chrysalis children and their families fill shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items and school supplies, that are given to children in need throughout the South Pacific. 

Chrysalis Director Lorenza Rinaldi said developing compassion in young children started by modelling it ourselves. “Children observe how we deal with challenges, how we treat friends and family in need, how we care for animals, and how we help those less fortunate than us,” Lorenza said.

“Compassion is both a feeling and an act, and the best way to teach it is through involvement in hands-on projects and activities,” she said.

Children in the Kindergarten classes have watched videos about other children around the world where the shoeboxes will be delivered and discussed the types of items they would enjoy receiving for Christmas. They learned that simple items they may take for granted such as a toothbrush, coloured pencils, or a new ball are not easily come by for others.

“Participating in programs such as Operation Christmas Child at an early age teaches children the importance of giving back to those in need,” Lorenza said. 

This year, the children have grown and developed in their learning through tactical and sensory play, arts, literacy, music, movement and healthy routines, and formed many special friendships along the way. As they reflect on the year that has passed, the participation of Chrysalis children in Operation Christmas Child is another reason to be proud.