Monday, February 8, 2016

Making Valentine's Day Meaningful to Preschoolers


Valentine's Day is more than just a day for a party, it's a holiday that's perfect for exploring social emotional concepts.  Focusing on some of these specific skills, such as relationships with adults and peers, empathy, and emotion recognition and expression, is a perfect way to give meaning to a holiday that otherwise might just be a day for a party.  Using holidays to teach specific content is how we make that content relevant and meaningful for preschoolers.

I always try to focus on special relationships during the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day.  We talk about love, and what that means.  In a preschooler's world love usually means having a parent who tucks them into bed, makes them dinner, or takes them fun places.  We also talk about what the children can do to share their own love with their family members. I love to work with the children to create something special for their parents (here's one idea), but my goal as we create gifts for families is to make sure that the children really understand why they are making a gift for a family member - to show that person that they appreciate everything that person does.

We also spend a lot of time talking about our friends, and our relationships with all of those different people.  I encourage the children to think about how these relationships are different from the relationships that they have with members of their families, and why they are equally important.  In order to have these conversations children need to have the related vocabulary.  We explore the words related to Valentine's Day using vocabulary cards and alphabet books, so that the children can practice using them in the classroom as they learn the meanings.  This helps the children build and examine their relationships with each other as they learn about Valentine's day.

Holidays are more than just fun, party days.  They are important learning experiences for very young children, and they help make learning concepts relevant.  Here are some more ideas for exploring Valentine's Day with your preschoolers:

Valentine's Day card ideas
Bags and boxes for Valentine's Day
Printables for Valentine's Day


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