By exploring what they feel grateful for, students will train themselves to see the positive. Gratitude makes us happier, gives us self-esteem, and improves our optimism. Learning about gratitude in a primary classroom can be as simple as group discussions that allow students to share what they are grateful for or writing in gratitude journals.

Gratitude Tree

If you bring a long branch or tall plant into your classroom you can create a Gratitude Tree. Students can record things they are grateful for on leaves that are then tied to the branch. The tree can be updated throughout the school year to reflect changing seasons.

After reading The THANKFUL Book, students can brainstorm things they feel gratitude for in their lives. A class book can be made and shared with families to encourage students to spread the message that gratitude is important.

Gratitude Challenge 

Set up a Gratitude Challenge in your classroom. Students work on one challenge at a time by working together to express gratitude. Challenges could include activities such as writing a note to the school custodians or visiting a local fire station to say thank you to the fire fighters. Challenges can also be reflections as students consider which book they are most grateful for, the colour that makes them feel gratitude, or a food that they are thankful for. 


In 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted a treaty that came out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The treaty sets out the basic human rights that belong to children all over the world, recognizing that children need special protection since they are more vulnerable than adults. The book, I Have the Right to Be a Child, presents these rights with text that is accessible for young children. It can help students to understand the gratitude that can be felt when these rights are met. It is important to know your students well and to be sensitive to emotions that may come up as a result of discussions about children who do not have clean water, access to education, and other supports that they have a right to. 

Video resources to use with your students:

.GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World by Empty Hands Music; Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod


Kristin Wiens, author and illustrator, reads “My Gratitude Jar” in its entirety. The book tells the story of a young boy who learns the value of a daily gratitude practice when his teacher gives each student a gratitude jar to decorate and encourages the students to write down gratitudes each day. 

A gentle guided meditation that encourages children to focus on what they are thankful for.