How We Celebrate Valentine’s Day In Our Montessori Classroom
Did you know that Valentine’s Day is the second-most disliked holiday behind Black Friday because (like Black Friday) it’s driven by seemingly needless consumerism? In contrast, in our Montessori classroom, we use the holiday to focus on sharing small, thoughtful gestures for one another in an inclusive, loving environment.
Let’s take a look at how we celebrate Valentine’s Day in our Montessori classroom.
Learning the history of Valentine’s Day
Whenever we celebrate a holiday in our classroom, we use it as an opportunity to teach children about the religious or cultural history of the holiday.
In the case of Valentine’s Day, its origin, while murky, took place in the Middle Ages in England and France. St. Valentine was among the most popular saints in Northwestern Europe at the time. He was regarded as a sympathetic, heroic, and (most importantly) romantic Saint. St. Valentine’s romantic reputation was due to his secret marrying of soldiers who Emperor Claudius II forbade from marrying.
Teaching children about a holiday’s history allows them to transcend the superficial aspects of a holiday. This allows them to better understand the modern ritual of people writing affectionate letters to friends and those they love on Valentine’s Day.
Removing the competition from Valentine’s Day
For adults and children, this day of love can often turn into a competition. Who bought the most expensive gift for their loved one? Who received the most cards from secret admirers?
In a Montessori classroom, we remove the element of competition. We do this because love should not be looked at as something we can measure as a quantity. Instead, we have children write affectionate letters for one another!
This exercise allows each child to focus on how they want to express their appreciation for one of their peers. This also ensures that all children receive a thoughtful card and that no child thinks love is measurable by the accumulation of things.
Focusing on each other, not candy
Children have a sweet tooth — we all know this. While an aspect of Valentine’s Day involves sweets, we maintain a focus on exchanging love, gratitude and kindness with one another through words and actions, not sugar.
At Montessori, we encourage parents and educators to implement this approach to holidays in the home and in the classroom. Our celebrations have a rich history and deeper meaning beyond the consumerism that has engulfed us. Teaching the history and meaning behind holiday celebrations is a great way to weave knowledge and awareness into our children’s lives.
If you would like some helpful, instructional resources for your children, or if you’d like to know more about how we celebrate Valentine’s Day in our Montessori classroom, please get in touch.