What to Give a Retiring Kindergarten Teacher?

Updated on May 24, 2010
R.G. asks from Sherman Oaks, CA
15 answers

Hi there,
My daughter is in Kindergarten with a great teacher and I am the classroom parent. All year, it's been pulling teeth to get parents to contribute towards the holiday gift which I managed to give a $100 gift certificate, by some miracle, then Teacher Appreciation day, few gave towards some things (flowers and goodies) I bought for the teacher. Now, it's the end of the year, and it's been a wonderful year with a great teacher AND she's retiring. My mother, who retired several years ago after teaching 40 years said, the teacher will get plenty of presents. Don't worry about a big fancy gift. Give her something personal- a scrapbook with contributions from each child which is a good idea. But I also think we should give her something as a class like a restaurant gift certificate, tickets to a show. Maybe I could raise $50 or so for that, but these parents don't seem too helpful and I don't want to chase after them. I know between myself and a few parents, we could probably raise at least 50. What is reasonably expected for a retiring teacher? Is a scrapbook with each child's work, maybe an engraved frame or bath and body soaps and chocolates enough?

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So What Happened?

Thank you SO MUCH to all of you for your good nuggets of advice. I totally agree with the scrapbook idea, but finding past students is challenging, so I "friended" the teacher on facebook, then started messaging people, her friends, asking if they were prior students, and I came across a few, who know others and will help me get the word out. I plan to write a descriptive letter and send it home with each child in their folder this week, probably with the page I want them to use to write a letter, draw a picture and I think I'll give them a sentence to start with like, The best thing in Ms. X's class was:. They are only Kindergartners so writing is difficult for them. I am great with the computer and actually have a hobby of doing video and photo shows with music, but they're very time-consuming and with three kids (including a 1 year old), my husband knows I tend to bite off more than I can swallow. The videos are a great idea, but I can't put endless hours into this project. Also, the logistics of gettiing a video of each person, present and past is too difficult- I don't have the time to go around to each person, but I could ask those who have a video to send me the video I suppose. If they do that, I can put it together. But I'm going to concentrate on making a nice memorable scrapbook, and also asking parents to contribute whatever they're able towards a gift certificate to her favorite restauant, if I can find out what that is. I was also thinking of personalized stationarey. Jewelry is too personal and hard to buy for people you don't know well. Thank you again for your great suggestions and support!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have put a note in cubbies before saying...We had a great yr & I'm grateful for out teacher & all her hard work..If anyone would like to contribute to a gift see me. Just about everyone did. Some did $5 some did $30, everyone gave what they could. I sell a line of jewelry that teacher love. Just did two lockets for retiring teacher. You customize them with little charms like initials, apples, kids, birthstones, what every you want. You can ____@____.com I can give you a discount if you live local:) Good Luck, Jenn

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answers from Pittsburgh on

For my son's kindergarten teacher I sent each kid home with a scrapbook page to personalize any way that they wanted (draw picture, write letter, etc.) I then put it all together in a book.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I agree with your mom... a personal gift would be best! Think of it this way... she will want to look back on her career, and with a scrapbook with the kids work in it, that would brighten any old teachers day! Maybe take a class picture too and put it in there! I would stick to the basics and make it very personal from the kids! I would even have the office keep it for a few days and hide it from her... so that EVERYONE could sign it! Like all of her past students and such! Also... we have a news station that gives a LIVE HIGH FIVE... basically just appreciating people who are great and do great things... Maybe you can look into this type of thing... call a tv station and ask if they could do a story on this teacher! That would be a never forgotten memory!!! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What we did one year was have the class photo put onto a t-shirt for her and had the class sign their names. It was a keepsake and she loved it. If she is a cook you can do the same with an apron. Scrapbooks are a great keepsake and will always be treasured.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Just my school of thought here but I think that the teacher would appreciate something customized personally from the kids rather than a store bought gift or restaurant gift certificate. One idea is that you could search the web and find a fitting "Worlds Greatest Teacher" t-shirt and get some fabric paint from a craftstore and have the kids put their handprint on the shirt and write in their names. Total cost would be around $30. The scrapbook idea you stated is also a very cool idea. Even something as simple as homemade cards or crafts telling the teacher how much she much she has meant them or thanking her or telling their favorite memory with her would mean alot. Just think simplicity and something that includes the children's personal touch - it just makes it more meaningful and heartfelt to the teacher receiving the gift.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would do a scrapbook and get as many pictures as you can from former students. Give them a paper to write on and all you have to do is tape it down. good luck



answers from Las Vegas on

Ho about using Snapfish or Shutterfly? Make a memory book with scanned letters, pictures, and a note from the principal or other teachers at the school.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi R.,

If you are good with a computer and have a video camera, our room moms put together a little film with each of the kids saying what they liked best about their teacher. One of the moms set it to music and put a little graphics into it, and it was a really great teacher appreciation gift. Something like this might also make a nice retirement gift.

My guess is that the teacher would rather have a gift that came from all the kids rather than a purchased gift from the store. It would be more economical for you, and it will be something that your teacher would be able to enjoy for many years to come, especially since it is her last year.

If you would still like to purchase a gift for her, perhaps you could ask parents to pick up gift cards of $5.00 value to a few fast food places or ice cream stores. With those gift cards, you can make a gift card tree (a little tree with some cute, miniature clothes pins shouldn't cost more than maybe $10 or $15).

Good luck with the gift. I'm sure that anything you make or give to your child's teacher will be most appreciated.

Take care,



answers from Chicago on

For my daughter's 2nd grade retiring teacher, we gave each child the same piece of decorative paper and had them hand write a letter to her. Some thanked her for being such a great teacher, others told about their favorite memories, and some told what they were going to miss about her. Each child pretty much wrote what they wanted in their letter. If it is too much trouble to have each child complete this at home, try talking to the principal-you might be able to come into the classroom for a hour one day, kick the teacher out and work on it together as a class. That would actually be better for you-no hunting down the letters and making sure they are turned in on time! We also bought a cake and 2 dozen roses from Costco (cost was $30). At the end of year party, without the teacher seeing, we gave each child a rose. We had the teacher sit in the front of the class and one by one, the students handed their rose to her and read their letter. By the end, she was holding a huge bouquet of roses and all of their letters. Very meaningful and special! After all the letters had been presented, we collected them, hole punched them and tied them with a pretty ribbon to create a book for her. (One of the girls had made a pretty front cover for the book).
Since we knew our teacher was going to be traveling, we also collected spending money for her trip and gave it to her with a travel book.
If you can't raise additional money from the parents, just keep it simple and do something thoughtful. This is your teacher's last class she will ever teach! Something personal will be much more meaningful and memorable than a gift card to a show, dinner, soap or chocolates. The money you do raise could go toward the cake & flowers.
Good luck and let us know what you decided to do!



answers from Boston on

My daughter's kindergarten teacher is retiring too. The kids are all asked to fill out 2 pages: "My favorite thing in Kindergarten" and "What Mr.X (the teacher) will do when he is retired". Just putting this into a nice book will probably cost you $50.
Last year the kids got the preschool teachers beach/boat totes. You can get it through Landsend or LLBean and have a fun little thing embroidered. Our kids all signed the totes with a fabric marker. Can't go wrong with a tote, since we are all starting to bring our own bags to the store.



answers from Dallas on

I got some really nice stationary ( loads of it, enough to cover the gift she would be recieving) and restuarant certificate for a retire teacher. She was thrilled with the stationary as she had a lot of thank yous to write out.



answers from Los Angeles on

I was a teacher for nine years and I loved getting gift cards: Coffee, Restaurants, my favorite clothes place, a spa. Since she's retiring she might want a little momento from each child too because its her last class. An engraved frame is a good idea too. Contrary to popular belief most teachers hate "apple gifts". All my lotions and candles collected dust as well. Sorry for being so blunt. I liked getting chocolate though:)



answers from Columbus on

She will get plenty of stuff, but a book that represents her in some personal way, donated to the school library would be nice.




answers from Los Angeles on

I work in the office of a school and we just had Teacher Appreciation week. Because I am close friends with all of the teachers I can let you know first hand that they really love the personalized scrapbooks more than anything else. They teach because they love what they do and hearing from the kids is great. They told me they would rather have letters from the children and parents rather than monetary gifts. If you dictate exactly word for word what the children say it is priceless. Like...What is your favorite part of the day in Ms. Jane's class?...What do you like best about Ms. Jane?...What did Ms. Jane teach you?...then notes from the parents past and present. We also did a picture collage for our retiring Kindergarten picture...but we has a lot of pictures from when she started.



answers from San Diego on

Hello, Your idea of a scrapbook is a good one. Also, if you have access to other former students who are still in the school, you might be able to get something from them. The office should be able to help you with getting messages to other teachers to have their students to make something for this project. I would suggest that you try to video her current and former students with fun stories from when they were in her class, but with current policies I am not sure that this would be possible. Anyway, then maybe you could also get a gift certificate for a restaurant or store with the help of some (if not all) of the other parents. The scrapbook would be little cost, so they would only have to chip in for the gift certificate.
Good luck with this project and with your precious family.
K. K.

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