After our snack, our party begins in earnest. A lot of parents come and join us, so I like to take the opportunity to show the parents what the children have been learning. Valentines is a great week to talk about the letter V in preschool, and you can see one of our letter crafts behind this happy kiddo.
Of course we have the obligatory Valentines containers. I use paper sacks that the children decorate at school earlier in the week. That also is a lesson. I show them a bag I made years ago. One side has layer upon layer of ribbon and stickers, hearts and sparkles - way, way too much. We talk about the word "gaudy", and how you can't see the things that are on there because there is too much. The other side is what I call "tasteful" - enough decorations, not bare, but not ridiculous either. Check out their bags, I think all the kiddos hit the target!
Many of the children write their friends' names on treats or Valentines that they bring. Sometimes parents help them, but not always. Either way, they take turns reading the names of their friends, and delivering their Valentines. Reading names is a great way to begin reading, what could have more meaning than your own name, and the name of your friends? They see each other's names in our classroom so often that even the 3 year olds can usually figure out each name - even if only by the first letter. Oh yes! We practice looking each other in the eye and thanking our friends for each card or treat, no matter how small. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the giving and receiving, but gratitude is not only a social nicety, but I think a big part of feeling happy.
Our Valentines learning gets another boost about a week later. Those of you who work in early childhood will smile and understand totally! My husband usually gets me roses for Valentines (I'm a lucky wife!), and I enjoy them as long as they last. There comes a day though when they are no longer attractive on my kitchen counter, and it's time to move them on. Not to the compost or the trash can, oh no! We can sort and graph with them!
But we still aren't done. The children love to pull the petals off, pretend with them, give each other flowers... those roses still have at least 2 days of learning left in them!
I've used this activity with my own kiddos for several years, and they love it. I hope yours do too! It's an easy emergent reader that has children reading "This heart is ___ (color)" - a simple text to help them work on color words.
If you're planning your Valentines Day learning, I hope you'll also check out my Valentines Day resources.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!