Valentine’s Day Workshop for Kindergarteners
What makes our students want to come to school?
It’s not about getting good grades, excelling in the classroom, or even simply liking school.
Our students want to be at school when they feel safe, loved, and valued.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to prioritize the emotional needs of your students, build their feelings of self-love, and continue nurturing the positive culture in your heart-centered classroom.
Ready to implement some simple decorations and fun games that will make a significant impact on your young students? Today I’m sharing some Kindergarten-focused activities and fun ideas for creating a classroom full of love!
What are Kindergarteners' Emotional Needs?
Young students are just beginning to develop their ideas and understanding of who they are. This gives you a powerful opportunity to positively shape how they see themselves and what they believe about their purpose, capabilities, and potential.
Five- and six-year-olds need a lot of support as they navigate their relationships with themselves and with others. The Kindergarten classroom really is as much about social and emotional growth as it is about academics!
Helping your students develop strong feelings of safety and self-love will help them reach out and build healthier, stronger relationships and bonds with their classmates, you, and other members of the school community.
When you prioritize your students’ emotional needs, your entire classroom benefits. You’ll typically see fewer behavior problems (though they will still exist!) and a more collaborative, connected classroom of students who want to be there. Everyone wins!
So how do you prioritize these needs? Honestly, you do this most in your routines and habits throughout your day – welcoming your students for the day, listening to them when they speak, creating (and holding your students to) consistent procedures and classroom expectations, giving them opportunities to interact with one another as they learn each day.
But a special day, like Valentine’s Day, is an ideal opportunity to really hone in and focus on meeting their emotional needs and helping your students develop a positive self-identity.
Setting Up Your Classroom
You don’t need to create elaborate decorations or go all out on a theme in order to set your classroom up for your Valentine’s Day activities. In fact, letting students create meaningful artwork, stories, or classroom projects you can proudly display gives you “decorations” and increases students’ pride in their work and accomplishments.
But you do want to take this opportunity to create a warm, celebratory environment in your classroom.
I recommend keeping it simple – hang some red and pink drapes or streamers, add in some heart balloons, and you’re good to go!
If decorating your classroom is something you enjoy and look forward to, of course you can take it up a notch or two. Just don’t stress out over the details. The point here is to make students feel celebrated and loved, so do what you need to make your environment feel special.
You can also involve your students in the decorating process if you think it’s a task they can handle. Working together to decorate your classroom and set up for a special day instills pride and increases your students’ feelings of belonging. And bonus, it can save you lots of time and energy! Dozens of small hands can get a lot done in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Valentine’s Day Workshop Activities
Now that you’ve created a festive, fun vibe in your classroom, it’s time to facilitate the main activity.
This is called “Mirror, Mirror” and it’s a simple, effective way to help your students increase their self-love and appreciate their unique gifts, talents, and personalities.
Separate students into small groups of 3-4 and give each group a small, handheld mirror. The students sit together and one at a time take a turn looking at themselves in the mirror. As they take their turn looking into the mirror, each student says (out loud) one thing they love about themselves. You can click here for an in-action video of this in our classroom.
If self-love and identifying strengths has been part of your classroom culture all year, your students may be able to sit down and successfully undertake this activity.
If this is not something you’ve ever introduced or practiced, you may want to spend some time demonstrating how the activity works and giving students examples of what they may say.
You can gather your students on the carpet and explain that this is a special mirror that only shows us good things. When we look into it, we can see all the things we like about ourselves and the things that make us proud.
Have students give examples of things they like about their friends – they share, they’re funny, they play with me at recess, etc. Then explain that all of those things they see and appreciate in others are also in them. You may share about some special things you really love about yourself – how you’re awesome at baking, make your kids laugh, love reading mystery novels, or are really brave and love trying new things.
A fun extension activity is to have students share what someone in their group loves about themselves after everyone has gone.
SEL education isn’t just for Valentine’s Day
SEL – social and emotional learning – is easy to pop in on a day like Valentine’s Day. But it’s also powerful to incorporate all year long.
You may want to consider building on the self-love practice you introduced in “Mirror, Mirror” throughout the rest of the semester. You can repeat the activity and have children participate in different groups, or have students complete a writing exercise about what they love about themselves.
Keeping social and emotional learning at the forefront of everything you do in your classroom will set your Kindergarteners up for success now and into the future.
And if you need materials, ideas, and resources for infusing SEL in your classroom, be sure to check out my FREE SEL sampler pack from my SEL curriculum: Our Caring Community which includes 4 free activities I’ve created just for you to try!
Ready to host your Valentine’s Day workshop for Kindergarteners?
From simple decorations to a meaningful self-love activity and ideas for extending the practice into the rest of your school year, you’re ready to rock Valentine’s Day in your Kinder classroom!
Need help creating a positive classroom culture?
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to creating the classroom culture you want. And once you’ve started building that culture, how do you stay consistent?
This is a challenge every teacher faces, which is why I created a totally free, powerful resource to give you tips for building relationships, setting expectations for learning, and introducing routines for behavior all year long.