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.
I love this
Thank you, Beth! 🥰
I wish I had gone to your school.
I make that wish every time I read one of Jennie’s posts!
That’s so nice to say, John. Thank you!
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.
You are a wise one, Pam. They may not remember specific events, but all these things combined mount up to character development. Yes, this one was a biggie. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you!
It is definitely one to remember.
Aw Jennie, this made my eyes leak. So lovely. I hope their wishes come true.
Thank you, FR. Leaking eyes are a good thing. I do hope their wishes come true. 🥰
So gorgeous, Jennie. I loved hearing the children’s voices on the video.
Thank you, Norah! Aren’t children’s voices a delight to hear? I’m glad they came through on the video.
Children’s voices are like happiness in a bottle. 💖
They are! 🥰
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.
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.
I love the wish tree! I hope the children’s wishes all come true, particuarly the one about wanting the sickness to go away.
I hope so, too. Thank you, Liz. I’m so glad you like our wish tree!
You’re welcome, Jennie!
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!
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!
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
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.
This brought a happy tear to my eye. Thank you.
I’m so glad, Sharon. Thank you!
This had me tearing up a bit as well Jennie. What a beautiful lesson!
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. 🥰
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.
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.
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.
This is just precious! X
What a wonderfully sweet project, Jennie. The tree looks great!
Thanks so much, Dan!
All good wishes. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Thank you, John. I’m glad you enjoyed this.
A beautiful wish tree, Jennie. Some of those wishes are very poignant, they bring tears to my eyes.
Thank you, Robbie. I was surprised and pleased at how children embraced making wishes. They were deeply personal and heartfelt for each child.
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.
Thank you, Laura!
How special. I love their wishes. I wish my dogs could talk too. The tree looks so colourful and happy!
Thank you, Darlene. I love the dog wish, too! The tree really is beautiful.
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!
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.
Reblogged this on alkaplan and commented:
I love this wish tree.
How very beautiful!!!!
Thank you, Jill!
Hi Jennie, Your post is lovely and wonderful!
Thank you, Charles!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is a wonderful post from Jennie, the extraordinary teacher!
Thank you so much!
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.
Thank you, Marlene. Their wishes certainly move hearts. And they’ll always see their wishes on the tree.
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.
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
They really enjoyed it, and now the tree is there to remember.
Yeah! Thats tradition building, Jennie! :-)) Congrats.
Thanks so much, Michael!
Out of the mouths of babes, so precious. I loveeeeeee the wish tree! 🙂 xx
Yes! After a gazillion years of teaching, it never ceases to amaze me what children say. Children are precious. I’m so glad you like the wish tree. Thank you, Debby. 🥰
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. ❤ ❤
I’m so glad, Diana. 🥰
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.
I wish there were more Jennies in classrooms.
Thanks, Steve. 😊
Loved this one too❤
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You decorated fo children. I love it
Thanks! The children continue to enjoy it every day.
Yeah ! The pictures reveal a lot👍🏻🙂