Gift for awesome daycare teacher who is moving on?
September 1, 2011 8:37 AM   Subscribe

The lead teacher in my 8-month old's daycare class is leaving and my wife and I want to get her something special.

This teacher is very caring and definitely loves all of the kids in the class. She has been very professional in her everyday interactions with us and is very respectful of our parenting decisions. She has been supportive and helpful to us, even going the extra mile in her time off to coordinate our son's schedule with a sleep consultant we were working with. She's babysat our son in a pinch. Over the last few months we've gotten to know her personally, and now that she's not going to be our son's daycare teacher we would love to hang out in a more social setting.

She's moving on to be a full-time assistant to a special needs child who is entering 3rd grade at a Jewish school. She'll be assisting the student in helping him integrate into his classroom.

We have more money than time to throw at this and therefore would like to get her something nice. Bonus points for stuff that either my wife or I can get in a shop in or around downtown Chicago.
posted by photovox to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
A letter. Honestly. My mom has taught school for longer than I've been alive, and she has saved every (kind) letter she's received from parents, and talks of them often. She got one several weeks ago from the mom of a girl she taught oh, maybe ten years ago (?) saying that she had just been listening to something on NPR about great teachers, and remembered how wonderful my mom had been to her daughter back in the day.

Write a letter (even better if it's on nice paper, but my mom loves the simple ones on post-it notes, too) to the teacher saying how much you've appreciated her support, etc, wish her all the best in her new job, and tell her how dearly she'll be missed. You and your wife should both sign it. Pair it with a small, token food item (like a box of chocolates or a loaf of bread from your favorite bakery) and call it a day.

A heartfelt note of appreciation is better than a pricey gewgaw any day.
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know it's often considered the least "thoughtful" present, but a gift card to her favorite store (or Target, if you're unsure) is always, always appreciated. My best friend has been a lead teacher of one-year-olds and now physically handicapped two-year-olds for years. Her most useful gifts are the gift cards, since she can use them for whatever she needs.

The real gift here? The heartfelt card that comes along with the gift, expressing your deep gratitude in a beautifully worded paragraph or two. The affirmation and recognition of her special talents and hard work is always appreciated.
posted by Falwless at 8:52 AM on September 1, 2011

Add a gift card for a local restaurant to the letter. Daycare teachers make about $10 bucks an hour, on the high side. They generally can't afford to eat out a lot.
posted by COD at 8:53 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mother was a daycare teacher, and while she was touched by the sentiment behind all the stuff she got, the stuff itself just kind of cluttered things up after a while (there are only so many commemorative "To My Favorite Teacher" ornaments and such you can have before you run out of room). A gift card with a note will convey the sentiment, but also let her decide what she wants to have occupying the physical space ("yay! not only is it not a figurine, I finally can get that toaster I need after the old one broke!")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on September 1, 2011

Dittoing gift card. I taught both elementary school and preschool for a couple of years, and even in that short amount of time, I accumulated a lot of stuff. So my suggestion is anything that is not stuff. Gift cards, letter, etc.
posted by altopower at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2011

Another vote for the letter, and also give her a second copy, slightly rewritten, that can be used as a reference for the next time she applies for a job. On that one, include your names and contract information and state that you would be happy to be contacted for more information. Also, include a picture of your child with the teacher. (And, as others said, cash or gift card.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 9:17 AM on September 1, 2011

Thank you letter and a Visa or American Express gift card. Don't buy 'stuff' or candy or a plant. My former roommate threw out boatloads of chocolates and candies and 'best teacher' stuff goes to Goodwill or the trash. You don't really know her well enough to get her anything personal. With a gift card, she can shop where she wants and buy what she wants, for herself or for the class.
posted by shoesietart at 9:18 AM on September 1, 2011

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