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?

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February 10th, 2011
7:29 am

It’s never too early to teach children that Valentine’s Day is a fake holiday invented in a secret meeting of high-level executives of Hallmark, florist, and fancy restaurant industries and perpetuated by such choclatiers as Godiva, Russell Stover, and Cadbury Schweppes. Teach girls early not to put so much credence in V-Day. Teach boys that it’s okay to write-off V-Day as farcical.

Oh, and gentlemen, don’t forget to order flowers and a card by Monday!!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
7:43 am

No, the whole class does not typically exchange Valentine’s in middle or HS.

No, not everyone has a special someone. Neither of my children have an actual Valentine, that I am aware of. They both have lots of friends.

We went, as a family to the UGA/Auburn basketball game last Saturday. We met my daughter at UGA. On the way there, I mentioned to my son something about Valentine’s Day. He laughed and said, “After a 3-4 hour Pharmacy test, no one is going to feel romantic at 6 p.m. Mom.”

Guess he won’t be the same boy who came running in with his little decorated box to show me his Valentine stash and our it all over the floor while I held the dog. Those days are past! they wwere wonderful. My daughter usually got her Dad to buy her Valentine’s right after Christmas and then ( for many years) we could not even find them when February came. We finally started putting the box on top of the fridge for safe keeping.

While I do hope the day will come when they both meet someone wonderful, that sends shivers down their spine…that day has not yet come and I am fine with them being focused on getting through school and enjoying friendships.

When they were both little, they had crushes on various classmates. It was too cute. My son adored one girl whom he wanted to invite home in Kinder. When she hopped off the bus, I thought I saw Pippi Longstocking in the flesh…it was too funny. My daughter also “loved” a boy in her Kinder class.

TWG…life is painful and not always fair. I have personally never been to a school dance. Oh well. Not even my Senior prom as I had JUST broke up with my boyfriend right before. Actually, he broke up with me in April and married someone else in August…think it lasted? In HS? I went on to college and dated others. Children will always be picked over other children, just as adults are picked over other adults. Sometimes we have to take our lumps and move on.

mom of 3

February 10th, 2011
7:45 am

No need to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the classroom. My middle child is in the 6th grade and they still exchange valentines. So silly! Of course the teacher said exchanging is voluntary, but what child wants to sit at their desk while everyone else is getting candy?

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
7:47 am

GRAMMAR/spelling alert…I think I should have put Valentines with no apostrophe in the first and 4th paragraph and spelled were with one w…sorry. I guess I need my coffee.

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
8:04 am

LOL…yes I did need coffee, I did not even see the snow outside…wow!

Musicteacher

February 10th, 2011
8:04 am

At my son’s elementary school, the kindergarten celebrates Valentine’s Day by witnessing the marriage of the letters Q and U. The principal performs the “ceremony”, and the entire kindergarten attends. The activity coincides with their curriculum; this is the point in the year at which they are learning words that begin with “qu”.

Lady Strange

February 10th, 2011
8:27 am

I never remember Valentine’s Day being anything besides giving cards to your friends/classmates in elementary school. Sure I imagine some of the little ones might have crushes or whatever but really? We’re worried about that? Let the kids have some fun for a change. Valentine’s made for kids are pretty innocent IMO.

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
8:35 am

TWG (what happens to the poor sons??)

My neighbor once went with her son ( age 6?) to a Valentine’s Dinner with Boy Scouts.

But you cannot always cover all bases…that is life.

Not trying to hog the blog but is anyone else up or they must have other things to do that are more important…tee hee…I am home today and need to clean my house…not important!

Jeff

February 10th, 2011
8:40 am

MJG, thanks for the plain talk wisdom.

I think it should stay on getting something for the entire class on a friendship level until middle school. As an adult, that is an entirely different subject/blog.

DB

February 10th, 2011
9:05 am

In kindergarten, our kids had a “Teddy Bear Tea” — kids brought in their favorite stuffed animal and dressed up. Little girls could wear hats and gloves, boys wore coat and tie. They had tea (and fruit juice for the less adventurous), little sandwiches and petit fours, and the emphasis was on manners — holding a chair for a girl, talking to each person at the table, hands in laps, elbows off the table, etc., etc. Some room moms really went all out — silver services, table clothes, china, etc. The next couple of years, they made a box. After that, it was pretty much just a candy exchange – Halloween in pink and red!. In high school, my daughter loved Valentine’s Day, and always had a bagful of treats for friends. My son couldn’t have cared less, but always managed to snag a treat from his sister’s bag :-)

Betty

February 10th, 2011
9:10 am

@Musicteacher……..LOVE the marriage of Q and U! How fun—I bet the kids love it. I don’t really see the point of a big party for Valentines Day in elementary school. Exchanging valentines for each member of the class and brining in your decorated box…….yes, I think that’s fun and just fine. I don’t think the day deserves it’s own party though.

@MJG–Yes, Life is painful and not always fair. And, yes, sometimes we have to take our lumps and move on……..but it’s sooooo painful watching your child deal with disapointment and rejection! I’m starting to see it with one of my kids now, (third grader) and everyone tells me it’s only going to get worse, but oh, sometimes it’s just heartbreaking seeing how mean kids can be to each other.

Enemas for Christmas

February 10th, 2011
9:22 am

Don’t any of you have jobs?

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
9:27 am

So sorry Betty! The kids in my son’s 5th grade class were beyond cruel. The teacher called us in and we talked as she was so worried about him. She had actually sent him to the office, on an errand, and had a stern talk with the class.

We had moved to our current house in September and he moved to 5th grade at Walnut Grove, here in Gwinnett. Most of the rest of the class had been together since Kinder…when the school opened. It was a very low point in his life. He went from a school where he had lots of friends to one where he was excluded. We still talk about it.

During HS, he went on a youth retreat with our church. He was 16 or so. A boy there came to him and told him that he wanted to apologize for being so mean to him, in 5th grade. It had bothered him all along and he wanted to make it right. I was impressed and my son was too! Character does count.

Neither of my children are or have been on the popular radar and that is FINE with me. Our friends continue to tell us what good kids we have and how they admire their character and hard work. We tried to do what was right by our kids: love them, encourage them and show them that life is not always fair. They have certainly had their bad days but don’t we all? Sometimes it has been hard to love them ( after what they did) but sometimes it is hard for them to love me too!

We took our former neighbors to dinner last week. The wife remembered all the screaming coming from our house when my daughter ( then 3) cut off all of her hair with a scissors her brother gave to her.We laughed at something that happened over 15 years ago! Her hair did grow back…imagine it!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
9:30 am

@ enema: not today…..the beauty of being self employed. It is not always beautiful! Whenever I am on this blog, I am on my own time so it is probably just fine….LOL. I am on my home office computer.

JATL

February 10th, 2011
9:45 am

I don’t know if either of my sons’ schools are doing anything for Valentine’s this year! They celebrate everything else with little parties and whatnot, but we’ve heard nothing about taking valentines for classmates on Monday. The youngest is only 2, and they have a special door display with valentines for parents, but nothing has been said about in class stuff. I’m more surprised about the pre-k my oldest attends. I thought for sure they would do something on Monday. I am going to double-check tomorrow, because sometimes communication is lacking and I do NOT want an email on Sunday night! We’ll see.

The sweetest thing that I don’t think will be topped this Valentine’s Day for me has already happened with my oldest son. We were in Target last Saturday and we went through the Valentine’s Day aisle(s). He was asking what all the special stuffed animals and M&M heart-shaped dispensers and stuff were for, and I told him if you really liked someone very special, then you could get them a little extra gift like that for Valentine’s Day. He proceeded to pick out a stuffed teddy bear in a Fonzie jacket holding a heart full of miniature Reese’s, and said, “I’m getting this for _________(his best friend since age 2) because he’s my very best friend and I love him!” So sweet! I figure we only have one or two more years before the world intrudes and he won’t innocently want to get another boy a valentine (no gay jokes -I don’t care if he is, but this is sweet and innocent and devoid of any “romantic implication”).

Betty

February 10th, 2011
9:53 am

@MJG—It must have been so hard for you and your husband to watch you son going through such challenges in 5th grade. I’m amazed at the kid who apologized years later–although I’ve heard of similar stories through the years, sometimes with people later in life that apologize after college when they realize what a jerk they were in school. Better late than never, I guess.

The fact that you and your son still talk about his 5th grade experience tells me that it has stayed with him a very long time. And unfortunately it’s usually the bad experiences and the hurt that lingers most from our childhood /teen experiences. (At least, I think for me anyway).

Hopefully things improved for him by 6th grade? From reading this blog I know he’s turned out great and is doing well now. I think one of the toughest things about being a parent is watching our kids take their “lumps”.

DB

February 10th, 2011
9:57 am

@enemas: That’s the nice thing about being self-employed. After working until 2 am this morning, grabbing a few hours sleep, and before heading off for appointments — yeah, I take a few minutes of fun for myself. Not everyone reports 8-5.

JJ

February 10th, 2011
9:57 am

I can no longer relate to elementary Valentine school parties, but I did send my daughter a “Valentines Care Package” with a bag of candy (sour patch), Ramen Noodles, juice boxes and Granola Bars…..

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
10:07 am

@ JJ…my daughter is coming home tomorrow.

Since she is moving into an apartment next year, she is getting:
kitchen towels, a red can opener, a red potato peeler, a pink spatula and a stainless steel colander sp?. I tossed in some cute pink and purple socks and a bit of chocolate. I have been buying two or three things per week and setting them aside for her so that when she is ready to move in August, she will have mostly what is needed. She is looking forward to having a kitchen to cook in.

Her brother is also getting things for his kitchen…including Spider Man and Marvel Comic glasses.
Also some snacks he enjoys. He is not really fond of chocolate.

Call me practical…it will not be the first time :0

JJ

February 10th, 2011
10:30 am

That’s sweet MJG. I’ve been stock piling stuff for my daughter too, but I don’t think she is actually moving out until next January. She is just about finished with her 2nd year of college, and she is coming home this summer, and possibly going to GA State part time, and working full time. I have been storing pots, pans, dishes, glasses, etc for her first apartment. I’m also stashing some money for her, that she doesn’t know about…..

JOD

February 10th, 2011
10:36 am

@JATL – That is precious!

@musicteacher – I agree – that marriage Q-U is adorable :o)

DD’s class is giving valentines to everyone (no names in the To spot, just signing the From spot). They made special ‘mailboxes’ for giving them out on Monday. There will be a little party with sandwiches, juice, and cookies, so I know they will have fun. It sounds like the focus is on friendship and including everyone, which is nice for her age. I’d like to see something similar through elementary school (or nothing) – it shouldn’t be a big deal, just fun.

JATL

February 10th, 2011
11:02 am

@MJG -where did you find the Marvel Comic/Spiderman glasses? I need some PRONTO for my oldest. He is really taken with Spiderman and Batman particularly. I’m sure it was tough to deal with your son’s exclusion in 5th grade. That’s the kind of thing that chills my heart. I don’t know if we’ll ever experience it on that level, but I know on some level there will be a grade or place where at least one of my sons is not treated well by his peers. It’s painful just to think about it.

@JJ -I LOVED the VDay care packages my mother used to send me in college! It was exciting to get that box.

@JOD -I was hoping they would make mailboxes in my oldest son’s class! Maybe they are today or tomorrow. I remember making them and just loving it!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
11:21 am

JATL…ROSS…my favorite store….LOL. My sister said she saw them at Marshall’s or TJMaxx too.

My husband got him Spiderman Tshirts in Minneapolis when he was there for a meeting.
He loves them. He has been a fan ever since he was little.

Send me the name of your son’s school. Perhaps I could stop in for a visit? I too loved your story about your son’s friend. My son had a best bud in Kinder and it was sweet. The were inseparable.
He also ran into someone at UGA who was in his first and second grade class. He has lost touch with him when we moved but they have hooked back up. I love it. He called me one day and said,
“Mom, do you remember __________?” We met up this week at UGA.

Going back downstairs to mop and vacuum… ( did I spell that right Becky? )

catlady

February 10th, 2011
11:45 am

My school doesn’t have parties for Valentine’s Day, but kids can bring cards as long as they have them for everyone (try to enforce that! ) I always buy a box and put “From your secret friend” and then “deliver” them if I see anyone who does not seem to have a lot. Parents can send special snacks–but we do NOT call it a party. (What?!) You can call a goose a duck but it is still a goose.

MJG, what drove me crazy in kindergarten (teaching it) was READING all the darned cards to each kid–30×30 is a lot of reading. Of course, the children could recognize each other’s names… And another thing was parents who would send their child to school with a box of cards—unaddressed! I had parents complain that it took them too long to do it, and seemed dumfounded when I suggested their CHILD put the names on! What a great learning experience, and decision-making experience it can be.

MJG, my son “loved” a girl in kindergarten (and actually for a number of years). He wanted her to come over for a “lumber” party. Thinking he was confused, I said, “No, dear, boys don’t invite girls over for a slumber party.” He was quick to disabuse me–he meant a lumber party! He would get out the scrap wood and they would build a chickenhouse together!

JATL

February 10th, 2011
12:03 pm

So happy! I just got an email from a mother at my youngest child’s preschool, and they are having a little party on Monday, so we’ll be getting some cards and taking something for that. I know a lot of parents hate getting that stuff together, but I love it!

@MJG -thanks! TJ Maxx is my fave, but I’ll also check Ross. I will email you about the school! I’ve been meaning to for awhile. I stumbled across the email you sent some time back a few days ago. It got lost in a jumble of “notifications” I receive in that account from a QA board for my other job. During January I was getting about 150-200 per day!

JATL

February 10th, 2011
12:04 pm

@catlady -that’s a fantastic “lumber party” story!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
12:07 pm

@ catlady, YES…You can call a goose a duck but it is still a goose. Especially if it is MY goose.

Yesterday, we were talking about animals and I was mentioning that while I know lots of animals, I could not possibly know them all. Two Kinders came to me separately and were desperate to tell me about an animal they knew: THE SPERM WHALE. I shared this with my husband and we both laughed that if we had mentioned SPERM when we were five, we would have been in trouble. Times have changed!

Becky

February 10th, 2011
12:17 pm

My two will be giving out cards and were sent home a name list, so that they could put names on the cards..The boys teacher said that she is going to have snacks for her class..The girls teacher isn’t so sure, she said they are still behind from the snow..??

To all that are stashing things for the kids, just wondering..When I was growing up (10 or 11), my oldest sister sent me dishes(plastic with roses) that she told me to put in my “hope chest”.. Is that what they still call it or is that to old fashioned? Of course, I never used those dishes (except to play) and saw the same set about a year ago in a antique (sp) store for $75.00..Sure wish I had of kept them..lol..

MJG..Yep, you spelled it right…Most people spell it with 2 c’s..

JOD

February 10th, 2011
12:18 pm

@MJG – I’ve been thinking about your son’s story and the angst I feel when thinking about that sort of thing for my daughter, especially when you read about all the bullying that goes on in schools today. It must have been horrible to go through, and so painful to watch, but it sounds like your son is a great guy, full of confidence and character. It’s nice to hear that kids can come through that.

I was made fun by some of the kids in my elementary school, and I still remember how much that hurt. I plan to teach DD about not calling other kids names, making fun of their clothes, etc., and hopefully she won’t be on either the giving or the receiving end :o)

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
12:40 pm

JOD, it was pretty awful and right up there with the AP History Class he took and could not follow the teacher. He was a sophomore and got a D first semester. Other kids were having trouble in the class too.

This is a kid who never had a C in his life, before college. He came home in tears one day ( age 16 over 6 foot tall) and said, “I do not know what she wants from us.” I dropped in for a visit and basically argued with that teacher and the department chair. He swtiched teachers and got an A the second semester. Summary…that teacher came from Berkmar to Collins Hill and promptly vanished off the radar soon afterwards. This was years ago.

He missed a few college scholarships because of that black mark but has since moved on. I ultimately spoke with a department chair in the county office who advised me that I should have come in to speak with him way before my son’s senior year. How did I know that they were perhaps having trouble with this teacher? I read between the lines later. He was simply the victim.
Sometimes I try to stay out of their business but should stay in it.

Re HOPE CHEST….I hope my daughter will finish college and find a job she likes…the rest is an afterthought…to me.

Lady Strange

February 10th, 2011
12:41 pm

@ catlady – that is so cute! Lumber party, LOL. Kids say such funny stuff. My son cracks me up everyday. Just over the weekend he told me he needed to use my laptop cause he had homework! and he’s only 3! So funny!

JJ

February 10th, 2011
12:57 pm

I want to hijack the blog for a minute if I may……speaking of valentines and candy……my neighbor’s took the little 2 year old to the dentist yesterday……FIVE cavities. I am SO disgusted, and it has upset me so much……I think that’s bad parenting and/or neglect. I told the mother she should be smacked. She’s only 21…..the problem is, she doesn’t seem to care…and was actually laughing when they told me about the dentist trip.

This child is adorable. But she wears the pants in that family. There are no structured meals, no disclipine, nothing. The child is allowed to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She has no manners and no social skills. They let her eat when, where and what she wants. For instance potato chips and cokes for breakfast. I’m not kidding……the child walks around with bags of chips/candy, whatever……

No outdoor time. She never goes outside. Her mother and grandmother do not work, and just refuse to get jobs. They can’t stand the thought of leaving this child for any amount of time. Day care is out of the question.

She also stays up until 1, 2:00 in the mornings…….SuperBowl Sunday she didn’t go to bed until 2:30 a.m.

I have tried, numerous times, to talk to these two “adults” but they just refuse to do anything….I’ve advised them to start giving that child some structure, and they flat out tell me No. I’ve suggested giving her milk instead of cokes, but they don’t. Last summer, we were playing in the kiddie pool, and the girl was thirsty. I took her sippy cup and filled it up with water. She happily drank it, but when grandma saw what it was, she immediately grabbed the cup, poured it out, and put sweet tea into it…..She eats so much candy, ice cream, cake, cookies, etc, it truly disgusts me.

Is this neglect or abuse? Should I call DFACS? Or stay out of it, and distance myself from these people?????

Kate

February 10th, 2011
1:04 pm

MJG- I had to comment on your post about your son’s experiences in 5th grade. My son has severe eczema (think chronic red, itchy rash very similar to poison ivy that appears spontaneously all over his body). Right before he started Kindergarten he had an eczema flare up on his face and had to go to school looking like a raccoon. He was completely ostracized by his classmates because of this even after his skin cleared up. I could never have imagined that kindergarten aged children could be so cruel. We talked to his teacher about it several times but she took the attitude that it was best to let the children “work this out for themselves” without adult involvement. We are talking about 5 year old kids! They handled it through relentless verbal, and occasionally physical, abuse that went on for months. My husband and I tried to be supportive of our son’s’ teacher, but we felt as if we were throwing our child to the wolves everyday we sent him to school. It was only after we threatened to discuss the issue with the principal that his teacher grudgingly agreed to say something to the class about it. After that, things did improve a little, but the school year was more than half over by that time and the damage was done. The only good thing I can say about my son’s experience in kindergarten is that it taught him compassion for those who are “different”. Although he is now a popular second grader, he is always very quick to befriend the “new kid” or stick up for the kids who are disabled or maybe just look or sound a little different from everyone else. I suppose there’s a message about the true meaning of Valentine’s Day in there somewhere!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
1:22 pm

JJ…not sure on that one. I am going to ask around.

Kate….great story. I have to think that snarky kids come from snarky parents but then some kids do have nice parents and simply do not know how to stick up for what is right…they flow with the crowd…I see it all the time. My two typically look out for the underdog, as they have been there too. I sent my daughter to a week of sleep away camp when she was seven. She knew no one but learned how to make friends. It became a life long skill!

Perhaps those who have always lived on the popular side of life need to drop down a few notches and breathe the air the rest of us do. I still meet folks who act this way as ADULTS. KUKOO to me!

Sorry JATL and others who are super nice here and live ITP but many think that since I live OTP, I have not arrived. That is hilarious to me! To each his own. Some northerners think the same of southerners. I was born in Chicago but will gladly take the little snow we had this morning over there snowstorm!

JATL

February 10th, 2011
1:38 pm

@JJ -that’s GROSS, but unfortunately not a DFACS situation. It may turn into one, sadly if all the child’s teeth rot out and she’s morbidly obese and not attending school in a few years because “she doesn’t want to.”I have a 2 year old, and it’s VERY difficult to brush his teeth, but we do it, although we certainly miss a few each time. I can’t imagine the amount of sugar and no brushing she must have going on to have 5 cavities! Although my cousins did provide structure, go to work, and implement tooth-brushing, it reminds me of a family reunion we attended when my oldest had just turned 1. We drove up to the house and started to unload everything and two of my cousins who are sisters came out to help and see us. They noticed his sippy was empty and immediately offered Sprite, Coke or sweet tea -for a one year old! At the time one already was caring for a grandbaby the same age as my son and the other also had young children. I just looked at them and said, “He drinks water.” About 6 months later we were with the same crowd at Thanksgiving when he got his first taste of soda. I looked around and he was standing in a corner shotgunning a Sprite like a frat boy with a beer. He was SO pleased with himself! Of course my aunt (mother of the previously mentioned cousins) said, “Oooh -he likes that! You should get him some at home!” Yeah, no thanks!

light

February 10th, 2011
1:39 pm

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

FCM

February 10th, 2011
1:46 pm

Tommorrow the 2nd grade class will be decorating shoe boxes in preperation for Valentine’s day. At our old school the children did the boxes at home and brought them in. At both schools the children brought in Valentine’s for the whole class…which at ES age I think is appropriate…we do not need ES kids treating someone like Charlie Brown (rocks for Halloween and no Valentine’s).

The 5th grader said yes they are giving out Valentine’s to the whole class (it’s an all or none policy there too)….but I have not heard they need a shoe box or anything.

One thing I did not understand was why the teacher had the children write individual names on each Valentine. What we did (and the teacher’s told me later they adapted this for the future years)…was sign the From part on every valentine in the box…they were to put one valentine in each of their classmate’s boxes and then the “extras” they could give out to friends not in their class–AFTER SCHOOL. (Seriously 2 boxes of Valentine’s with stickers, tattos, or pencils is like $5).

I love the idea of a school party for the whole family. Maybe I will float that for next year!

In MS (OMG THAT IS NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!) I am sure it will be different. We had a sneak peak at MS this past week…shout out to Dodgen MS performing arts y’all did an AWESOME job!

Betty

February 10th, 2011
1:50 pm

@Kate–What a terrible thing for your son to have gone through. What a wonderful outcome though–the fact that it taught him compassion for those who are different. It makes me wonder why some people come through difficult times and the experience helps them relate to others who are excluded or bullied and others come through similar experiences and it seems to harden them and make them less compassionate.

As an adult, I’ve always gone out of my way to welcome and include “outsiders” and I’ve attributed it to feeling left out at times growing up and remembering what it felt like. I guess the best we can hope for is for our children to learn compassion from these difficult situations.

FCM

February 10th, 2011
1:54 pm

“sock hops and father/daughter dances ” what about the kids’ who don’t have a dad around?…..In our house my Dad steps in for the Dad’s n’ Donuts…my good friend is a single mom–no father in the pic ever—and she goes to the Dad events. She says I am mom & dad to this child get over it!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2011
2:00 pm

JJ…can you call these folks? Maybe explain the situation and see what they say. You are good to want to help this child…I hope you can!
http://health.state.ga.us/programs/childrenfirst/index.asp

Musicteacher

February 10th, 2011
2:03 pm

@FCM: some schools have gone to a “family dance” format due to situations such as those you described in your post.

JJ

February 10th, 2011
2:08 pm

Thanks MJG. I’ll check it out.

JATL

February 10th, 2011
2:30 pm

@FCM -I wonder about the “father/daughter or father/son” activities! My son attends a public pre-k at a local elementary school where many of the children have absent fathers. This year they’ve had a father-child pumpkin carving event, a dads and doughnuts breakfast, a father/daughter dance, and later this month they’re having another father/daughter dance! For the pumpkin carving, my husband “adopted” two kids who are friends with my son and who don’t have fathers around, but I don’t really get this line of thinking. I like what musicteacher said about going to a “family” dance or pumpkin event, because I know this just re-enforces the fact to these kids that their dads aren’t in the picture.

I do think that it’s an effort in some ways to get the fathers who are around to be more involved, but I think they could manage that differently -especially in a school where so MANY fathers aren’t in the picture. You also have children whose parents are divorced and dad lives far away. One little girl who is good friends with my son has a father who is as active as possible in her life, but he’s in New York, so he can’t run down to carve pumpkins! I’m usually not so politically correct, but anything that’s going to make little kids feel bad through no fault of their own just rubs me the wrong way!

JJ

February 10th, 2011
2:35 pm

JATL – that is the very reason I pulled my daughter out of Brownies/Girl Scouts. I explained to the leaders her father was absent, but they didn’t seem to care………so we left. I think that’s something that needs to fade into the sunset……

Donuts with Dads always hurt me, because my daughter had to see all the dads with their kids and it would just break her heart. However, a time or two my brother stopped by and had donuts with her. Still brings a tear to my eye.

JATL

February 10th, 2011
2:57 pm

Oh JJ -see -that’s why it’s a bad idea. I think maybe sometimes there are good intentions, but it’s a bad idea. Boo to your daughter’s former Scout leaders for not taking that into consideration. I can’t imagine not trying to change things up if a parent personally came and talked to you about it!

jacee

February 10th, 2011
3:06 pm

JJ – you need to stay out of it unless you see the child being physically (not nutritionally) abused. It’s not you child and not your business. Nosey neighbors like you are why I don’t live in a subdivision.

catlady

February 10th, 2011
3:13 pm

The church we attended in grad school had a father son thing. My former husband was several hundred miles away, so my son asked his private school principal to come. I will always be very thankful to that man for doing that! Such a kind thing to do for a little boy!

Some of you know my son was terribly hurt in a freak accident when he was almost 4. As a result of the accident, he looked pretty rough for a while. At the time, he didn’t get too much grief from kids–it was their &%$#! parents who would say, “Ew, what happened to him?” He would say, “A rock fell on my head. What happened to you?” I had shown him the scars I had accumulated over the years, and I think he could see that everyone had imperfections.

Except for the first time he saw himself in a mirror, he did not seem to be too self-conscious. He did get some teasing when he was about 7–called “brain boy” which he took to be because of the scar. I asked the principal to intervene, and the kids quit. Later, my son told me one of them said they were calling him that because he was so far ahead of them in reading! True? Don’t know. He was reading on the 6th grade level at the time, so it is possible.

JJ

February 10th, 2011
3:14 pm

@jacee – I’m NOT a nosey neighbor. They live next door to me, and we are friends and see each other practically every day. But thanks for the kind words.

FCM

February 10th, 2011
3:44 pm

JATL the kids’ father is in Afganistan…unlikely he will be able to attend some of events…even when stateside he doesn’t live near us.

We are lucky my Father does step in from time to time. We feel lucky.

My parents have “adopted” children when the schools do a Grandparents day, like you said your husband did.

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