Skip to content

K-12 Schools Embrace Friendship, Kindness Over Traditional Valentine’s Day Celebrations

 The customary Valentine’s Day festivities in K-12 schools are transforming, shifting away from the focus on romantic love and to celebrations around fostering friendship and kindness, says a counselor at Indianapolis Public Schools.

“I believe we are seeing more inclusive celebrations by teachers and families,” said Dr. Lori Hart, the district’s elementary and middle school counseling coordinator. There is more of an emphasis on encouraging children to exchange cards and tokens of appreciation with classmates and friends, fostering a sense of camaraderie.”

Hart noted that students who are unable to afford elaborate Valentine’s Day cards for others or did not grow up culturally celebrating Valentine’s Day can be more susceptible to feeling disheartened by the holiday.  

Sometimes planning group activities is a great way to reduce the social stress of the holiday, especially with teenagers and their friends so that more kids can join in the celebratory fun, she said.

Hart’s tips for a fun classroom celebration include:

  • Plan creative and age-appropriate crafting activities that allow students to express their feelings through art. This could include making friendship bracelets, decorating cards with positive affirmations, or creating simple crafts that celebrate the joy of friendship. Such activities promote creativity and social interaction.
  • Integrate educational themes into Valentine’s Day celebrations by exploring the history and cultural aspects of the holiday. Teachers can share stories or organize discussions about friendship, diversity, and the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. This helps children understand the broader significance of the day.
  • Instead of focusing on sugary sweets, promote healthier snack options during Valentine’s Day celebrations. Teachers and parents can coordinate to provide nutritious treats or organize a potluck where families contribute a variety of snacks. This not only aligns with promoting overall well-being but also emphasizes the importance of making thoughtful and healthy choices.
  • Instead of a romantic card distributed by youngsters, which is usually purchased by parents the night before, write thank you cards to show kindness and gratitude to express emotion.
  • Students also can create a support system tree with branches recognizing the importance of important individuals in school, home, and community.

Hart also encourages families to participate in the celebration by organizing family-friendly events or activities. This could include family craft nights, where parents and siblings join in creating Valentine’s Day-themed crafts. Involving families helps strengthen the bond between home and school, creating a supportive environment for the child.

She said that by approaching Valentine’s Day with an emphasis on friendship, inclusivity, education, family involvement, and health-conscious choices, teachers and families can create a positive and enriching experience for youngsters.