Lesson Plan on The Giving Tree (Steiner New Zealand)

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Kindergarten / ECE Lesson Plan – Lesson Plan on The Giving Tree (Steiner New Zealand), Steiner philosophy

Title: Exploring the Central Themes of “The Giving Tree” – A Rudolf Steiner Inspired Kindergarten Lesson Plan

Grade Level: Kindergarten / Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Curriculum Framework: New Zealand Te Whฤriki

– To introduce and explore the central themes of selflessness, gratitude, and environmental stewardship through the children’s book “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
– To foster empathy, emotional intelligence, and an understanding of the interconnectedness between humans and nature.
– To encourage creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills through hands-on activities and discussions.

Theorist: Rudolf Steiner
– Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy emphasizes holistic development, nurturing the child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
– Steiner believed in the importance of connecting children with nature and fostering a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world.
– His approach encourages imaginative play, artistic expression, and experiential learning.

– “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein
– Art supplies (colored pencils, crayons, markers, paints, etc.)
– Natural materials (leaves, twigs, stones, etc.)
– Large chart paper and markers
– Music player and soothing instrumental music
– Blankets or mats for a cozy reading area


1. Introduction (10 minutes)
a. Gather the students in a circle and create a calm and welcoming atmosphere.
b. Begin by discussing the importance of trees and nature in our lives.
c. Introduce the book “The Giving Tree” and explain that it tells a story about a tree and a boy.

2. Reading and Discussion (15 minutes)
a. Read aloud “The Giving Tree” to the students, using expressive voices and gestures.
b. Pause at key moments to ask open-ended questions, encouraging critical thinking and empathy.
c. Discuss the central themes of selflessness, gratitude, and environmental stewardship.

3. Artistic Expression (20 minutes)
a. Provide art supplies and invite the students to create their own illustrations of a tree or a scene from the book.
b. Encourage them to use their imagination and express their emotions through colors and shapes.
c. Display their artwork on a designated wall or bulletin board.

4. Nature Walk and Observation (15 minutes)
a. Take the students on a nature walk around the school grounds or nearby park.
b. Encourage them to observe and collect natural materials such as leaves, twigs, or stones.
c. Discuss the importance of trees and their role in providing oxygen, shade, and habitats for animals.

5. Circle Time Reflection (10 minutes)
a. Gather the students in a circle and provide a cozy reading area with blankets or mats.
b. Play soothing instrumental music in the background to create a calm atmosphere.
c. Ask the students to share their thoughts and feelings about the book and their nature walk experience.

6. Group Activity: Tree Collage (20 minutes)
a. Divide the students into small groups and provide them with a large chart paper and art supplies.
b. Instruct each group to create a collaborative tree collage using the natural materials collected earlier.
c. Encourage them to discuss and decide how they can represent the central themes of “The Giving Tree” in their collage.

7. Conclusion and Reflection (10 minutes)
a. Gather the students back in a circle and reflect on the day’s activities.
b. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the students to think about the importance of giving, gratitude, and caring for nature.
c. Summarize the key concepts discussed and emphasize the interconnectedness between humans and the environment.

– Informal assessment can be conducted throughout the lesson by observing students’ engagement, participation, and understanding during discussions, art activities, and reflections.
– Students’ artwork and collaborative tree collages can be used as visual evidence of their understanding and creativity.

Extension Activities:
– Invite parents or caregivers to share their own stories or experiences related to giving, gratitude, or environmental stewardship.
– Create a class garden or plant a tree on the school grounds, allowing students to actively participate in caring for nature.
– Explore other books by Shel Silverstein or other authors that promote similar themes of empathy, kindness, and environmental awareness.

Note: This lesson plan is designed to align with the New Zealand Te Whฤriki curriculum framework by incorporating holistic development, fostering a connection with nature, and encouraging creativity and critical thinking skills. The inclusion of Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy further enhances the emphasis on imagination, artistic expression, and experiential learning


New Zealand


Te Whฤriki (New Zealand)


Rudolf Steiner



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