Our Wish Tree

What is a Wish Tree?

Wikipedia says: A wish tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings.  Such trees are identified as possessing a special spiritual value.

I knew about Wish Trees.  I read “Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate.  Everyone needs to read this book!  Seriously.  I stumbled across a real Wish Tree with friends on Cape Cod.  The wishes were tied on with shells.  It was quite moving.

 I knew we needed a wish tree at school.  

Our school-wide theme this year is Roots and Wings.  Teachers help children to grow the roots of goodness, kindness, resiliency, and independence.  Growing roots means they can then grow wings.  Children learn through hands-on experiences, so a Wish Tree at school is perfect.

Each class had their children make a wish, which was written on fabric strips the same color as the classroom.  Children tied their wishes to a tree.  We used a ladder for higher branches.  The result is a glorious explosion of color, with wishes blowing in the wind.

This is our beautiful Wish Tree on the playground at school.

Music is important for children.  To make wishes come to life, we listened to “When You Wish Upon a Star” – such a beautiful song.  Then, we changed the words slightly to “When you wish upon a tree, makes no difference who you’ll be.”  As we hung our wishes on the tree, we sang the song with children.

Children’s wishes were heartfelt, funny, joyous, tearful…you name it.  Out of the mouth of babes.

“I wish I could always be with my teachers.”
“I wish Christmas would give me presents again.”
“I wish Ivy would always be kind to me.  I love her.”

“I wish my dog could talk.”
“I wish I could always be in school.”
“I wish the sickness was gone.”

“I wish I could live very far away.”
“I wish for a motorcycle that zooms.”
“I wish Grandma could stay with me forever.”

May all your wishes come true.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Inspiration, Love, Nature, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Our Wish Tree

  1. John Kraft says:

    I wish I had gone to your school.

  2. quiall says:

    What an incredibly poignant post. I wonder if these children will look back in 30 years. Their characters are evolving and these moments are pivotal.

  3. Aw Jennie, this made my eyes leak. So lovely. I hope their wishes come true.

  4. Norah says:

    So gorgeous, Jennie. I loved hearing the children’s voices on the video.

  5. beetleypete says:

    Every school should have a wish tree, and a teacher like you to show them how important wishes are.
    I also wish my dog could talk. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Pete. I wish you had been there when Winn told me his wish. I knew how sincere it was. He loves his dog. What a wonderful wish. Of course you wish Ollie could talk. Pete, if you haven’t read “The Poet’s Dog”, I want to send you the book. I will order it tomorrow.

  6. I love the wish tree! I hope the children’s wishes all come true, particuarly the one about wanting the sickness to go away.

  7. willedare says:

    I agree with all of the above comments! I also love that you included music, adapting your own words for WYWUAS — “”When you wish upon a tree, makes no difference who you’ll be.” Thank you for creating and then sharing this gently profound ritual with all of us!

    • Jennie says:

      Music is the glue, the part that makes children remember, the part that fills their heart. Yup! I had the best time singing as we hung our wishes. It was like sprinkling fairy dust on the wishes. Children loved it. I thought of you, Will, because I picked an old song, a classic that is endearing. The ritual was just like you said, gently profound. Thank you!

  8. love this activity and feeling you created for your students. the gift of roots and wings is key for growth in life. Having wishes heard and felt is key to seeing the reason for the wishes. I hope you too put a wish on that tree and will continue to add to it going forward

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Lori! Like you said, roots and wings is a a gift and a key for growth in life. The whole process was magical for children. It made a mark. Teachers added their own wishes to the tree, too.

  9. This brought a happy tear to my eye. Thank you.

  10. This had me tearing up a bit as well Jennie. What a beautiful lesson!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Kim! I thought about you as I searched for that perfect Disney “When You Wish Upon a Star” song that Jiminy Cricket sang. It didn’t work for the children the way it worked for me a ‘million’ years ago. I found a beautiful version by Katherine Jenkins, and the children now love the song. It made their wishes come to life. 🥰

  11. How wonderful for the kids. I love that, Jennie. I visited the border between North and South Korea and there’s a bridge there where people tie their wishes. It was beautiful.

    • Jennie says:

      My goodness! That must have been a powerful moment to see those wishes tied to the bridge. I bet it was beautiful! Thank you, Jacqui.

  12. Don Ostertag says:

    A little one told me about a wish tree they had at school. I asked him what he wished for and he told me he wished for a cupcake tree.

  13. Ritu says:

    This is just precious! X

  14. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderfully sweet project, Jennie. The tree looks great!

  15. All good wishes. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  16. A beautiful wish tree, Jennie. Some of those wishes are very poignant, they bring tears to my eyes.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Robbie. I was surprised and pleased at how children embraced making wishes. They were deeply personal and heartfelt for each child.

  17. Seeing and hearing you (and the kiddos) in action – pure delight.
    Thank you for the hopeful lift to my day.
    “May all your wishes come true.”
    Selah. Let it be.
    peace dear teacher.

  18. Darlene says:

    How special. I love their wishes. I wish my dogs could talk too. The tree looks so colourful and happy!

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    We used the reading program Success for All twice during my years as a teacher with a decade break in between. I only make mention of that because the two levels within that program are called Roots and Wings.

    I see that you have a birthday tomorrow, young lady. Have a great day and a special weekend!

    • Jennie says:

      Hi, Pete. Thank you for the birthday wishes. 71 years young!! I like that the two levels are called Roots and Wings. It’s such a great term.

  20. A. L. Kaplan says:

    Reblogged this on alkaplan and commented:
    I love this wish tree.

  21. jilldennison says:

    How very beautiful!!!!

  22. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, Your post is lovely and wonderful!

  23. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful post from Jennie, the extraordinary teacher!

  24. Children and their wishes move you to very different place in your heart. The little girl who wanted to live very far away stopped my heart a little. Tying wishes onto the tree is such a lovely idea. You made it into something so beautiful.

  25. inspiredtalktoday says:

    I believe children want to be heard, and this act of kindness has allowed them to do just that.
    Caring and showing kindness are always memorable to a child. I know this to be true.

  26. Wow! You are so fast in realising thoughts, Jennie! 😉 A wonderful idea, and now a famous wishtree. I am sure the students are happy as never before. Michael

  27. dgkaye says:

    Out of the mouths of babes, so precious. I loveeeeeee the wish tree! 🙂 xx

  28. How wonderful, Jennie. I purchased this book after reading your first post about the Wishtree. We’re about 1/2 way through. I love your tree! The messages melt the heart. ❤ ❤

  29. natorg2020 such a beautiful post. I’m going to tell everyone about this idea. I absolutely love this and would like to send kindness your way to thank you for sharing the inspiration.

  30. srbottch says:

    I wish there were more Jennies in classrooms.

  31. Curios-xp says:

    Loved this one too❤

  32. Pingback: Every Child - %

  33. Thotaramani says:

    You decorated fo children. I love it

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