The gorgeous bunch of kids that I teach this year are dynamic.
They're loud, they're fiesty, they're individual - every.single.one.of.them.
They're opinionated, they're bossy, they're awesome...
and they're so, so generous.
As a school we have recently started to support World Vision's Smiles programme.
This initiative is one where your monetary donations are equated to a tangible 'gift' for a community in need.
In a single week my class alone has raised a huge amount with no sign of stopping.
So much so that we filled the donation box and had to 'bank' the cash raised so far with the office.
Large cash donations sourced primarily from their own moula.
I told one particularly selfless student that she could donate half of her wad of notes and that would still be extremely generous.
She responded saying "that's okay, I don't really need anything else".
This bunch, they're goal orientated so the notion of being able to see where our money is actually going to be utilised is an excellent incentive.
We have a World Vision chart in our room outlining the various donations and their life-changing impact in a community.
For example, $10 in donations 'gifts' a chicken and chicken feed or $125 trains a teacher.
My kids are pulling out all stops and aiming to buy 'a stable full of animals' ($1200!!!)
Our school is now also launching our annual shoebox appeal - Operation Christmas Child, supporting Samaritan's Purse. This programme provides gift filled shoe boxes to children in desperate and disadvantaged situations around the world.
The kids are getting excited about taking home these special boxes and filling them with small, appropriate 'gifts' for children who wouldn't otherwise receive presents or luxuries in their lives.
I'm also excited to share the fun with Magoo this year - while hopefully raising some awareness in his beautiful, egotistical little head that we are beyond blessed in our family, home and country.
Meanwhile, my class are also busy personalising and perfecting hand made games and treasures to gift to their younger year one buddies in our primary school.
If I request a volunteer or ten for tasks from tying my shoelaces to unjamming printers to manning the sports shed, there's always an immediate and impressive response. These guys don't hesitate to help each other out or encourage one another.
My students have formed groups completely off their own bat to clear rubbish out of our nature zone in their own lunchtimes, to organise and hold dodgeball competitions for other students at lunch and to care for another class' budgies before and after school.
We're not angels or saints. No halos here, that's for sure.
But these kids, like lots of others, have hearts to match their huge personalities..
(Assume soapbox here)
Kids 'these days' - they're getting a bad rap.
We can give our kids a hard time and harp on about how society has fallen in this day and age. We can be dismayed at the decline in common decency or manners and be disgusted at the rise in inappropriate and downright dangerous behaviour.
(Yep - my hand's up. Guilty as charged).
But that's not the whole story or the full picture.
Most kids are just kids. Great kids even.
Kids are intrinsically 'good' people. They want to love and be loved.
They crave direction, boundaries, guidance, care - they may not know it, but they do!
I heart kids. Cause kids heart others.
(Alight from soapbox here.)