Teaching Students About Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14th every year, is a day dedicated to expressing love and affection to those we care about. While many people associate this day with romantic relationships, it is essential to teach students that the celebration of Valentine’s Day transcends romantic love. Classroom lessons on Valentine’s Day should emphasize the importance of love in its various forms, including friendships, family bonds, and acts of kindness. This article will outline some strategies for teaching students about the meaning, history, and significance of Valentine’s Day in an inclusive and compassionate manner.

The History of Valentine’s Day

To provide context and understanding, start by teaching students about the historical background of Valentine’s Day. The celebration can be traced back to ancient Rome with the festival of Lupercalia, where young men and women were paired off through a lottery system. However, it wasn’t until 496 A.D., under Pope Gelasius I, that February 14th was declared as Saint Valentine’s Day to honor one or more Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.

Instruct students about the legends associated with Saint Valentine(s). One popular account concerns a priest named Valentine who defied Emperor Claudius II’s decree forbidding young soldiers from marrying. Believing that single soldiers fought better than married ones, Valentine secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young couples. His actions would ultimately lead to his execution on February 14th.

Inclusive Classroom Activities

1. Encourage students to create handmade cards for their friends and family members to celebrate all kinds of love, not just romantic love. Allow them to use craft materials like construction paper, markers, stickers, and ribbons to create unique cards that convey thoughtful messages.

2. Share books or stories that showcase love beyond romantic partnerships. Some examples include “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney, which displays the love between a parent and child; or “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White that highlights friendship and loyalty.

3. Organize a classroom “Secret Valentine” activity where students draw a classmate’s name from a hat and anonymously leave small gifts or notes of appreciation for their chosen person leading up to Valentine’s Day. This activity promotes kindness and the concept that everyone deserves to be appreciated.

4. Introduce students to customs related to love and friendship from different cultures, such as China’s Qixi Festival or South Korea’s various monthly love celebrations (e.g., White Day, Black Day, etc.). By presenting diverse traditions, students learn to appreciate other cultures and can draw parallels between various forms of love.

5. Host a “Kindness Week” leading up to Valentine’s Day where students perform acts of kindness within the school community or for their friends and family. Provide them with a list of ideas, such as writing thank-you notes, helping someone in need, or picking up litter in the school yard.


By teaching students about the history and meaning behind Valentine’s Day along with organizing inclusive classroom activities, educators can create an environment that celebrates all forms of love, strengthening friendships and promoting kindness. By shifting the focus away from just romantic love, teachers can ensure that every student feels included in this special day dedicated to cherishing the bonds we share with those we care about most.

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