Monday, February 06, 2012

Montessori Community Celebration of Valentine’s Day Games and Activities

Part 1 of 2: Celebrating Valentine's Day with Montessori Friendship and Family

Many Montessori classrooms consist of students from countries around the world, and it has been my experience that these parents really want their children to learn about North American holidays and customs. Valentine’s Day on February 14 is an ideal celebration to share with students and parents, and I have developed a simplified version to honor and include all of our families.
boy holding heart card NAMC montessori community activities valentine's day
A primary aspect of our Valentine’s Day is the exchange of cards between the children, which will be addressed in detail in Part 2 of this series.

On Valentine’s Day we always begin class with our usual routine. The celebration is in the last hour and a half of the day. Children are free to continue working during the celebration. It is never required that a child has to make the crafts. Some children will not want to make any. Some will try with an invitation from the teacher. I try to plan the day so that I can be a “floater” to help children who need assistance.

Our Valentine’s Day celebration always includes four craft tables which are manned by parents. We also prepare and eat a group snack together. Parents complete a donation/participation sign-up sheet in the week ahead. Craft and snack suggestions are itemized so that there are plenty of choices, and parents are able to choose more than one item, if they wish. There is usually a parent who kindly signs up for whatever is deficient at the end. It is a great help to have almost everything brought in (except the food) in the days before February 14.

Food consists of a variety of heart-shaped snacks: small muffins baked in heart decorated mini muffin papers, and watermelon cut into heart shapes served on Valentine’s Day themed napkins are favorites. We have always been a “water only” school for drinking so the children simply fill their drinking glasses with water when they choose to.

Valentine’s Day always includes songs and games, and we perform special finger plays and songs for the celebration. Two games that are always favorites:
  • Hot Potato: instead of a bean bag, the children pass around a small, empty heart-shaped candy box. The tune of choice: one of the Beatle’s classic love songs. Each time the music stops, the child holding the box sits down in the middle of the circle and the music begins once more. When the music stops again, another child joins the interior group. This continues until all the children are in the middle of the circle.
  • Hearts: The second game includes two paper cut-out hearts for each child. One heart is red and the other heart is yellow (or gold). As we all stand at random around the classroom, I recite the following poem: Some hearts are made of paper (hold out red heart in front) Some hearts are made of gold (hold out gold heart in front) Some hearts are made of stone (frown and put both hands behind) And some hearts were made to roam (toss both hearts up into the air) But the heart that is the best,   Is the heart inside my chest (press both hands across chest)
    Of course, the challenging part is to remember to not pick up the tossed hearts until the end!
The day’s celebration ends with the exchanging of the cards, as described in Part 2.

Related NAMC blogs:
NAMC thanks Maureen Northacker for this blog contribution.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, February 6, 2012.

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