With Valentine's Day right around the corner, now is the time to begin updating your shelves and planning your lessons about love and caring for others.
Kindness, Grace and Courtesy
When talking about the holiday of Valentine's day, it is important to draw parallels to some of the most important aspects of practical life curriculum in the classroom. As any Montessorian knows, a large part of their job is helping children understand how to treat others, care for themselves and take care of the environment.
As social and emotional conflicts arise in the classroom, it is important to teach children how to properly solve their conflicts in a kind and respectful manner. All children should feel safe and cared for in their classroom and should truly feel excited to enter the classroom each day.
One way to foster kindness in the classroom is to practice gratitude. At circle time, invite the children to reflect on things they are grateful for. You can connect this lesson to lessons you gave prior around Thanksgiving, where you most likely discussed gratitude. Feeling grateful is an important part of learning self-awareness and reflection. It also teaches children to be present in their environments and reflective of the events that happen daily in their lives.
Connect this lesson to Valentine's day by teaching children how to share this
gratitude with others in their classroom. One way to do this is to have a special stone that is passed along the circle. When the stone reaches a child, they can choose to share one thing that they love, care about, or enjoy doing. If they feel shy or can't think of something to share, they can say “Not today.”
By practicing this daily, it gives children the chance to share even if they felt too shy to share a day prior. Many reserved children will reflect privately on this and will want a chance to contribute the next day, so it is important to repeat the exercise to give them the opportunity to do so.
Once it gets closer to Valentine’s Day, switch the prompt at the circle. Instead of reflecting on themselves, the goal should be giving a gift of words to someone else. They can say simple things such as “I like when Ben plays with me.” or “Kayla and I laugh a lot.” As these circles continue, it will become easier for the children to express their love and gratitude for others at the circle. You may be surprised at what children will express once they get confident at their ability to share kind words in this way!
When Valentine’s Day arrives, use the worksheet provided to make “gift of word valentines”. The children can make them for friends, family members, pets, teachers, or whomever they want to share kind words with.
Valentine’s Day Lessons
Add some variety to your practical life shelves with Valentine's Day themed sets.
The heart stone transfer work and the heart gemstone transfer work help children continue to develop fine motor skills through the practice of using a small spoon to transfer the heart stones from one crochet basket to the other. The first kit comes with ten stones and can easily be extended into a counting work as well. Do your children enjoy using tongs? Adding this heart tonging work is an easy way to add new life to a practical life shelf that could use a refresher. Also, this heart linking work is perfect for children who need more practice with strengthening their fine motor skills or practicing patterns.