Valentine’s Day was in full swing when I arrived in Kindergarten.  Stacks of cupcakes and cookies covered the teachers’ desks, and the kids all wore various shades of red, pink, and purple.  As usual, I arrived as they were getting ready to leave the “Smart Zone,” where there are various stations that the kids play at, including blocks, a house, and an art station.  They began telling me at once how much they were looking forward to the Valentine’s Day party that day, and how much fun their “100th Day of School” party was last week.

We sat down and listened to the teacher read Love, Splat by Rob Scotten, a Valentine story about a cat named Splat who has a crush on his classmate Kitten.  In the story, Splat makes Kitten a Valentine’s Day card, so we talked about what important things to include in such a letter: the date, the person the card is for, why that person is special on Valentine’s Day, and a signature.

When we finished the story, I sat down with a group of three kids to help them write out their own Valentines.  They made cards for various people, including their friends in the class, their parents, or their teachers.  After a lot of spelling help (“I like you because you are friendly and share with me”), the cards were finished.  We cut out and glued together envelopes and put the letters inside, then clearly addressed the letters so they could be handed out.

Then came the really fun part: decorating bags to collect Valentines in.  Glue, sparkles, and stickers soon covered the table as the kids embellished their white paper bags.  The excitement in the air became much more pronounced as snack time approached and everyone’s bags were almost finished.  I was sad that I had to leave before the party began, but I’m sure they all had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to hear about it next week.

Alexa McGonigal graduated from UVA in 2009 with majors in English and psychology, and she is now back in Charlottesville for her first year at the School of Law. She volunteers in a kindergarten classroom through Madison House’s “Cavs in the Classroom” program.

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