News and Events

Celebrating Giving at Exeter’s Harris Family Children’s Center

Two 4-year-olds have fun, and learn a philanthropic lesson, by wrapping presents for families in need

December 19, 2012

Exeter’s Harris Family Children’s Center (HFCC) ushered in the holiday season with a non sibi gift-giving project perfect for their young learners.

The children were asked to donate a gently used toy and an item of clothing. The gifts were then wrapped in newsprint at the center and delivered to the local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office.

“It’s difficult for children of this age to understand what philanthropy is, or to comprehend that there are families out there that have less than they do,” says Amy Farnham, enrollment and finance manager at HFCC. “Naturally egocentric, giving up their own toys is one of the most difficult things to do, so it really impacts them more than if they were to accompany mom or dad to the store to purchase a toy.”

The children’s enthusiasm resulted in 20 large bags of clothing and approximately 100 toys, which are being distributed to families in the Seabrook, Manchester and Nashua areas, where WIC sees the greatest need.

For these youngsters, the personal experience of non sibi can be eye-opening and fun. One 4-year-old, Abby, had such a great time wrapping donated items that she announced her intention to talk with her 6-month-old baby brother about what toys he was willing to give up.

The 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art HFCC has the capacity to offer full- and part-time care for 58 children of Phillips Exeter Academy families and the surrounding community. It features an infant room, a toddler room, a preschool program, a 3/4-day kindergarten, an after-school program and summer camp for children aged 5-9. The center’s child-centered curriculum educates through individual and group exploration, hands-on experimentation and discovery through observation. Contact the center via email at or phone 603-777-3150.

Interested in learning more?

Learn more about HFCC’s programs…

Read about the center’s visit to Lamont Gallery, where HFCC students learned to make artist’s books…

Listen to HFCC children talk about their encounters with wild and woolly animals during a visit from Wildlife Encounters Zoo…

Read how children at the center learned about composting firsthand…

— Nicole Pellaton