Montessori school’s crafts fair raises money for UNICEF

Barbara Hootman

The annual soup and craft fair at Swannanoa Valley Montessori School, now in its seventh year, benefited UNICEF this year.

Students there worked for weeks every year to make handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, snow globes, potholders and other salable items to raise money to donate to a charity.

“Although it is (for) a charitable cause, they are also using skills that they have learned through the fall in class,” Jennifer Hermance, a Montessori elementary teacher, said before the fair at White Horse Black Mountain Nov. 24. “It takes what they learn in class to a practical level in making something and selling it.”

This is the first year that fair was held at White Horse Black Mountain.

“It is a more central location and has a lot of space that we could use to display the crafts, and have the parents to sit and get to know each other,” said Diane Jackson, Swannanoa Valley Montessori School media coordinator. “All of the crafts cost no more than $5, which makes them affordable for parents, friends and community members.”

Lucy Poe, an elementary school-aged student, helped make snow globes. And she helped sell them.

“Making a snow globe is a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work,” she said during the fair. “I hope they all sell, and we make a lot of money.”

Ali Dufault, lead teacher at the school’s Children’s House, said the annual fair not only raises money for a charity like UNICEF but is also a lot of fun, hard work, as well as being a service to the community.

“Being a community service and supporting a charitable organization is all important for young children to learn, and the annual soup and craft fair does that,” she said. “The students work together for weeks making things to sell.”

Jackson said learning to give to others is one of the most important aspects of life that the students learn from the annual event.

“The parents donated the ingredients for the soups, but the students made all of them,” she said. “They worked really hard on making the handcrafted items and were so excited when sale day rolled around. This annual event rolls a lot of learning into a special event.”

Christopher Jackson Thomas helped make pine cone owls and then got to help sell them at the fair.

“They were pretty easy to make, and they are something everybody will want,” he said. “I think they would look best hanging on a Christmas tree. I sure hope we make a lot of money so we can give it away.”