As Valentine’s Day approaches, visions of hearts in shades of pink and red, chocolate candies, flowers, and Valentine cards fill children’s thoughts. And it is the perfect time of year to include more social-emotional learning activities into your Pre-K lessons. You can integrate some of the following ideas into your Circle Time or at another time of the school day:
Feelings Valentine Art: The week of Valentine's Day, focus on a different feeling (happy, sad, nervous, etc.) each day. Incorporate visuals and music that support the specific feeling. Have children create art with a heart craft. Write a statement at the top of a cut-out heart and have children draw a picture to finish the sentence. Write down what they tell you about their art on the back of the heart. The following examples could be for a parent, grandparent, or guardian to give on Valentine’s Day.
- “I feel happy when you…”
- “I don’t feel sad when you…”
- “I don’t feel scared when you…”
- “I feel excited when you…”
- “I don’t feel nervous when you…”
- Ask the children for more ideas to use.
Loving through Literacy: Incorporate books with strong social-emotional themes to read aloud and discuss with your class. You can read the same book every day for a week and discuss the content in more detail each time. Some great examples include:
We Can Get Along/Podemos llevarnos bien: A Child’s Book of Choices/Un libro de alternativas para niños by Lauren Murphy Payne M.S.W. LCSW
• This book teaches tolerance and encourages acts of kindness through clear words and illustrations. It supports children’s development with skills for conflict resolution and peacemaking and includes activities and discussion questions in English and Spanish.
Un Pequeno Libro Sobre Sentimientos: A Little Book About Feelings: Spanish English Bilingual Edition by Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter
• This book has an empowering message about expressing emotions. It teaches young children the vital skill of recognizing the wide range of human emotions and helps encourage empathy and compassion.
Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere by Kira Willey
• This book is a collection of mindfulness exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions.
More suggestions and resources can be found within the Get Set for School® Pre-K curriculum.
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