For many, Valentine’s Day is a fun celebration of love and friendship, where good friends or those who like each other exchange cards and gifts. In schoolrooms across the country, this has a traditionally been a holiday for giving each other Valentine’s cards. However, for some, this holiday is filled with sadness. Some students, particularly special needs students, may not receive many cards from others and may be filled with sadness and a loss of self-esteem. Here is a way that parents and teachers can celebrate this holiday in classrooms and in the home to make it applicable and fun for all, including those with special needs.
Most students know nothing about why Valentine’s Day is celebrated. Teachers can impart a bit of a history lesson during this day. The story about Valentine varies because he was known as a man who lived during the third century A.D. However, nearly all stories agree that he was placed in prison for some reason and went on to fall in love with the jailer’s daughter. He signed his letters to her “Your Valentine.”
As a remembrance of what the original Valentine did, special education students may still enjoy sharing cards with each other. Classrooms can have a rule that cards must be exchanged with every student. Teachers can also set aside time to help the children create their own cards. Parents can take the initiative to help their children send cards through the mail to their friends.
Instead of focusing on popularity or favorites, parents and teachers can restructure Valentine’s Day celebrations to focus on the universal themes of kindness and friendship. By doing this, the celebration can become a month-long theme in the classroom. Classes could work on creating Valentine’s for shut-ins or for members of the military or could create simple brown bag meals for the homeless.