Build-A-Bear Tzedakah Project

Build-A-Bear Tzedakah Project

Teacher: Aileen Duncan

Grade: Kindergarten

Subject areas: Jewish Studies, Math, Reading, Writing


In conjunction with Jewish Studies, the children participated in a Tzedakah project. The children were encouraged to earn twenty dollars by doing extra chores or good deeds. They painted a bear bank to keep their coins in and then brought the banks to school where we examined their coins with a magnifying lens and learned about pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters using songs written for children on you-tube. After all the funds were collected, we took our field trip to Build-a-Bear where the children chose their bear and the clothing. Two days later the children were so excited to see the ambulance in the circle drive by the school. After taking pictures with the EMS personnel, having a quick tutorial about what these community helpers do and how the ambulance works, the children carefully placed their bears on the stretcher to send with the paramedics to give to children who may have to ride in an ambulance to the hospital and need some extra comfort. Not one child complained about giving the bears away! This project ultimately taught the kindergarteners how their own personal efforts and selflessness can result in the happiness of others, which provided intrinsic happiness for them.

Essential questions: 

  • What is tikkun olam? How can we raise tzedakah through our own personal efforts
  • How can kindergarteners practice compassion and empathy?
  • How do my own personal actions affect others?
  • What is the EMS role within Austin and how can we help others?


Student’s will-
1) Learn about the Judaic principles behind tzedakah and tikkun olam
2) Practice money recognition to learn fundamentals about nickels, dimes and quarters
3) Read and journal around topics of empathy and compassion
4) Carry out a tikkun olam project while learning how to be a helpful member of the community