How should elementary schools celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I am sure that in middle and high school the focus of Valentine’s Day is on love. I am guessing that students don’t bring in Valentine’s for the whole class anymore and concentrate on their friends or significant others. And I think that is appropriate for high school and probably even middle school. However, I don’t like seeing that in elementary school. I just don’t think the focus should be on boyfriend/girlfriend LOVE at that age.

This year I was very pleased that both of my kids’ classes have focused the holiday on friendship.

Rose’s teacher did her “friendship party” early (but they are exchanging cards with their friends on Monday). The teacher suggested a “Minute To Win It” party like the NBC show. NBC’s web site has a large list of these easy-to-play and easy-to-put together games. The kids went around to 17 stations and try to pass the task. They had a little check sheet to mark if they succeeded. At the end the kids who achieved the most tasks won a little prize. I thought it was such a cute idea and pretty easy to pull together. (Although the emails back and forth choosing the games was a lot – there’s got to be a better way to do that.) The kids had a great time and were using their minds and bodies to do the challenges.

Walsh’s class is finishing up a nutrition unit and so they are having nutritious breakfast treats brought in for their V-Day party. I’m not sure what activities his teacher has planned. Instead of the children designing their own V-Day box, they were assigned a secret buddy to design one for. They were given a list of things that the child likes to include in the decoration of the box. (Walsh tried very hard to use every element the kids liked but I’m afraid it isn’t the prettiest box.)

I heard about another school doing a family dance as a fundraiser and told the kids and parents to dress in neon. The kids brought in cereal boxes to donate to a local shelter as their “entrance fee.” The PTA sold little glow necklaces and bracelets for .50 and food items during the dance. I liked the idea of the parents being included and everyone getting some exercise dancing. Also like that they focused the kids on loving other people – ie providing for the poor. I’ve heard of other schools doing sock hops and father/daughter dances (what happens to the poor sons??).

I think those are the RIGHT way to handle a children’s dance. In kindergarten one year the teacher was focusing on manners, and we were told was teaching the kids how to “dance.” (Like formal old-fashioned dancing.) It seemed cute at the time. The kids were supposed to dress up for the little dance in the classroom. When we got there the teacher had girls on one side and boys on the other and the poor little girls were waiting to be asked to dance. It was so painful watching your child hoping not to be left standing there. It was an awful experience for the child and the parent. I didn’t expect to have that painful experience until middle school. Clearly the teacher hadn’t thought that through!

I think this year’s experiences will be far more positive.

So how does your school or teachers handle Valentine’s Day? What do you think is an appropriate celebration? How much sugar is served at the party? Are there any physical activities (is there a way to fit those in even with it being cold out)? Do they focus on friendship or love?

At what age do they stop bringing cards for the whole class? How DO middle and high schools handle V-Day?

54 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
3:56 pm

@jacee….excuse me? I live in a subdivision to have neighbors. If JJ is sharing the facts ( and I am pretty sure she is or why bother) that borders on child abuse! One can read stories all the time, about neighbors who keep an eye on things…in a good way. Perhaps you do not have kids because, as a mother, I want my neighbors to help me keep an eye open. I can always make my own call later.

My next door neighbor’s daughter was riding her Big Wheel ( all alone) down the center of the street, one afternoon. She was 3 or 4 at the time. The trash truck was simultaneously backing into our street. I walked to our mailbox at the same time my neighbor across the street did. We heard the truck and both looked up at it and to see the child headed towards the trash truck ( no mom in sight). We both screamed and ran down the street to detour her. Call us nosey, we probably saved her life.

Mary

February 10th, 2011
5:15 pm

@jacee: “nutritional abuse” is called child neglect. It’s all the same to DFACS.

@JJ: Best to err on the side of caution and contact them. DFACS will determine whether there’s cause for more than neighborly concern. Speaking from experience here; I’m a teacher, and a number of years ago a child at my school died because abuse wasn’t reported appropriately. While what you’re witnessing certainly isn’t as extreme, it’s still cause for concern.

Hangman blog

February 11th, 2011
6:42 am

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jacee

February 14th, 2011
11:12 am

MJG – totally different. One doesn’t call DFACS because of a child eating too many chips & sodas…just crazy IMO