So I have been thinking more and more about the appearance of Valentine activities online - suggestion after suggestion of hearts and red and pink...
But maybe its time to stop and think...
What do the children make of all of this?
What is love for the children? Take the time to ask them - philosophize a little - does it have a shape? Is there one love? What colour is love? Can you hold love?
Maybe, once you have collected their thoughts, it is time to work out an activity - whether it be paints or tissue paper, cutting out shapes, glue, glitter - or maybe warm and soft sensory experiences.
My children, when they were preschoolers, described love as cozy, cuddles and wearing pyjamas all day!
Maybe when we represent love as flowers, chocolates and hearts we are projecting a different kind of love than the love children experience. After all loving someone is very different than being in love with someone.
Then maybe we should question the appropriateness of Valentine's Day celebrations with young children altogether? If Valentine is about being in love then maybe we should allow the adults to have this celebration...?
In Swedish it is called "All Hearts Day" which does bring us back to hearts again. Maybe it is a chance to think about what the heart is - is love found there or is it a pump making sure our blood supplies our body with everything it needs?
Where in their bodies do children feel love?
In their arms when they wrap them around us? All over?
Lets take time this Valentine to find out what love is for children and see if we can capture it in words, in art and in action.
Reflection February 8th 2014
Valentine's day is approaching yet again - and again most pages seemed to be filled with suggestion after suggestion of pink and glittery hearts and other "traditional" views of Valentine and love.
Again I will not be celebrating Valentine's day with the children at my work... none of them have mentioned it even. As essentially an adult celebration I sometimes wonder why it is even thought suitbale for children (if I am really going to start challenging thoughts). Friendship is something I feel should be always celebrated, not just highlighted once a year, LOVE also... the many forms of love... parents and children, children and friends, children and their teachers, children and... well so mnay things they seem to love...
This coming week we will return to the The Love Tree artwork, that ended up being reworked when the window it was exhibited in was vandalised (something the children have no memory of now). We will re-read the documentation together and then reflect upon what they think LOVE is... this being after we have asked them again what is love to see if being asked the same question a year later... a year filled with new experiences, will have changed their thoughts about what love is... and then allow them to reflect on the similarities and differences from a year ago.
My wish is for MORE teachers to dare to abandon the traditional heart approach to Valentine's Day and to turn to the children and LISTEN to their ideas and to then work out together how these ideas can be represented in art...