Recommended Books

For Children

  • Anna Shares by Barbara Baker
  • Barry, the Bravest Saint Bernard by Lynn Hall
  • The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Lenny Hort
  • Bread Comes to Life by George Levenson
  • A Circle of Friends by Glora Carmi
  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • In My Mother’s House by Ann Nolan Clark
  • The 100th Customer by K. T. Hao and Byung-Gyu Kim
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Martin Luther King Jr.: Dreams for a Nation by Louise Quayle
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • Mrs. Rose’s Garden by Elaine Greenstein
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
  • Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie dePaola
  • The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

For Parents

  • Raising Charitable Children by Carol Weisman
  • Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life by Alfie Kohn
  • Calm and Compassionate Children by Susan Dermond


Community Service

The aim of such an education indicates the desire to contribute to the good of all, to share in this cosmic goodness.” —Maria Montessori

Philanthropy is one way in which people recognize their connection to each other, and such service to others is an important part of the Montessori philosophy. No matter what their interests or ages, all children can demonstrate generosity and recognize their connection to other people in their classroom and around the globe. As a school, we aim to serve those in our immediate neighborhood of the District of Columbia, as well as members of our global community.

At Aidan each classroom community nurtures an ethic of caring. Generosity becomes unconscious - it is the connection that exists between all members of the group. It’s not a set of rules, but an attitude that is absorbed, a product of the experiences of everyday living. In addition, some classes undertake projects such as fixing lunches for homeless shelters, visiting the elderly or volunteering at soup kitchens.

The Parent Association forms a Community Service Committee each year that organizes school-wide drives for various causes such as the Bright Beginnings Center in DC or the Walk for Water project in West Africa.  Parents are encouraged to involve their children in the drives and participate in activities. We also encourage families to model generosity and to talk with and read to children about giving to others.

Bread for the City provides vulnerable residents of Washington, DC, with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect -- Donate food or children's clothing Glean produce from local farms for the food pantry. Or donate goods like organic potting soil, hanging pots for growing herbs on our walls, large, free-standing pots for berry bushes and tomatoes, vegetable seeds or flowers for their rooftop gardens.


Miriam's Kitchen provides free, homemade meals and high-quality support services to homeless men and women -- Make and deliver peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their "Wednesday Cafe", make get well and birthday cards for their guests, or collect art supplies for use in Miriam's Studio.


The Reading Connection provides books and reading mentors to at-risk children and families in order to create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading -- Purchase and donate new books or participate in a gift wrapping session at a local bookstore
City Kids is an education program for underserved and at-risk inner-city youths (ages 11 to 24) from the Washington, DC metropolitan area that utilize the outdoor, natural environment as a classroom for academic, recreational and life skills -- Donate outdoor and sports gear.


Project Create provides free, after-school art classes and field trips to at-risk, underserved children in emergency, transitional and long-term affordable housing sites. Donate art supplies or visit student art exhibitions.


Lobuto Library Project builds libraries designed for marginalized children in Africa and provides comprehensive library collections of expert-selected and -organized children's books -- Select, process and catalogue books or donate books per their guidelines


Casey Trees restores, enhances and protects the tree canopy of the nation's capital -- Conduct a tree inventory, sponsor and/or participate in a tree planting, or perform tree maintenance as a "citizen forrester". and If you live in the District, have a tree planted on your property, or do another recommended project to turn your house into a RiverSmart home. And be sure to check out their "Arbor Kids" page at

Rock Creek Conservancy protects and restores Rock Creek and its waters, parks, and lands -- Participate in Rock Creek clean-up activities ( or take steps on your own property that will help to protect the Rock Creek Watershed (

Greater DC Cares has a searchable database of local volunteer opportunities at

For more ideas, check out the Catalogue for Philanthropy, at, including suggestions of local non-profit organizations whose work might appeal to children at Some of the listed organizations are most in need money -- in these cases, you can engage children in the activity of researching the organizations and choosing one for the family to support. Some interest-sparkers include: Neediest Kids (, Trails For Youth (, and City Arts (

Community Service Projects 2013-14

Toiletries Drive!

What to do with your cache of miniature bath gels, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and toothpaste? Please donate them now through FRIDAY JANUARY 31, 2014. Go through the collection you may have from your travels. Or take your child to the sample-size section of a store (Target and Bed Bath & Beyond have good ones), have her choose a few items and hand the cashier the money for the purchase so that she will fully understand what and why you are buying them. Place your pocket-sized toiletries in the basket in the lobby. The Community Service Committee and Elementary students will deliver them to S.O.M.E. - So Others May Eat - to be distributed to their clients. Thank you!

Brown Bag Stuffing at Aidan!

On Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 10:00am-noon, all Aidan families are invited to come to school to help put together snack bags for S.O.M.E. The children will decorate 300 paper bags and then, in assembly-line fashion, fill each one with foods that have been pre-purchased. We are very excited about this event! It gives families an opportunity to participate with other Aidan folks and no child is too young to place an apple in a bag.