Special school student Rachael Bishop wraps Christmas gifts that will be sold cheaply at the school's Arts Mart.
Special school student Rachael Bishop wraps Christmas gifts that will be sold cheaply at the school's Arts Mart. Robyne Cuerel

Christmas wrapped up at special school

ALTRUISM is a doing word - just ask the students at the Maryborough Special School who are wrapping donated gifts for their Arts Mart.

The novel concept, initiated by Special School arts director Rose Wright, is in its third year and producing positive results.

Donations of toys and gifts provided by opportunity shops, staff, parents and the wider community keep the students busy for about one month.

"The entire process teaches children of different ages altruistic behaviours," said Rose, who has been teaching at the Maryborough Special School for over six years.

"In the modern world we live, sometimes that is forgotten about."

The hands-on activity is to teach that Christmas is not all about "me, me, me!"

"It's about making an effort that requires thought, and to be able to purchase those things and give to others so it's not 'let's just go to the shop and buy something pre-made'," Rose said.

"This morning I was teaching beading and one boy asked if he could make something for his nana, so I taught him how to make it and wrap it.

"He wrote a little card and now he's proud of himself because he's got a little gift to give to nana.

"I've found I'm getting positive comments throughout the various stages."

These included "Oh my sister would love this" and "My dad would love this".

The students are encouraged to wrap some of the gifts and put them aside for their family members.

Once all of the gifts are wrapped, the school sets up an Arts Mart where the students can spend their pocket money on items ranging from 20 cents onwards.

The whole process takes about one month.

"That's why I put in so much effort to make it happen because of the results of altruistic, thoughtful behaviour," Rose said.

"Be nice - be thoughtful."