Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Montessori Community Celebration of Valentine’s Day and Activities, Part 2

Part 2 of 2: Community Valentine's Day Montessori Activity

montessori teacher young girl make valentine's day card activities in the classroomEach year for Valentine’s Day our Montessori preschool/kindergarten students exchange greeting cards. For those families new to the holiday, these “Valentines” are typically small holiday-themed cards containing messages of friendship that the children exchange at school. Students participate in the preparation of the cards with their families.

Preschool-age children do not always have the energy to make the number of Valentines needed on their own if they wish to give a card to each classmate, so we have developed a cultural activity to make the exchange more manageable and enjoyable for all students, and whereby the focus remains on the original intent – that of peace education.

To cut down on paper waste, to promote purposeful preparation by the children, and to save the parents from the stress of “getting out all those Valentines”, our activity begins with the preparation of an exchange list were each student is assigned the names of 3 or 4 classmates for the exchange. Then we invite parents to participate with a handout including guidelines such as these examples:
  • Please do not purchase store-bought Valentines.
  • Kindly provide supplies and assistance so that your child can make 3-4 Valentines. Each child has been given the names of her/his Valentine recipients, which are included in the parent handout. Suggested craft materials: paper, ribbon, lace, doilies, glitter, old cards, stickers, comics, etc.
  • No candy, gum or toys are to be attached to the cards, please.
  • Please do not use envelopes.
  • Ask your child to personally sign each of the Valentines. Please be sure that the name of the recipient is on the card, too. (Note: Most children over the age of three can write at least a portion of their names. It is acceptable for parents to “translate” the signature of the child if needed.)
  • Please return the cards to school by the school day before the celebration using a plain container, envelope or baggie with your child’s name written on the outside. (Bringing them in prior to February 14th helps us to avoid problems if some children are unexpectedly absent on that day.)
During the Valentine’s Day celebration at school, participating adults help the children with the opportunity to focus on each of these few cards, discuss the sentiment written on them and appreciate the effort that went into making them. The event is designed to give parents and their children a planned time that can be quite enjoyable for everyone.

In the days before the celebration, the children may also create and decorate “mailboxes” in class. On Valentine’s Day, each child has the opportunity to be the letter carrier and deliver the cards he/she has made. At the end of the day, the class is divided into small groups that are each lead by a volunteer parent who provides the guidance needed in helping students take turns and truly enjoy the card exchange experience with the group.

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 Wednesday, February 8, 2012.

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