Montessori is probably a little different from many other schools, in that handmade Valentines are strongly encouraged (one is subject to militancy on many fronts when one's child is attending a fancy-pants private school--I also have to bring in homemade treats on the girls' birthday party days, and they can't have sugar, and if you try to send your kid to school in mittens that are too thin, you WILL get chastised). People are still allowed to be busy, so the girls always do get a store-bought Valentine or two in their bags (and one Valentine came with a piece of candy! I bet my life that the head teacher and at LEAST two sets of parents had a total fit about that one), but the beauty of the average preschooler's handmade Valentine really is a sight to behold.
Since this is Syd's first, and last, Montessori Valentine's Day, here are HER favorite handmade Valentines:
I also don't know if every little kid does this, or if the handmade factor makes them extra-special, but my girls TREASURE their Valentines. They carry them around, they pore over them, they painstakingly read/memorize each signature and greeting. For the last two years, Willow has literally loved her Valentines to death, and after some inevitable milk spill or bathtub accident I was left with absolutely zero momentos to hold onto for her.
This year, then, I'm afraid that in a few more days, before we've pushed our luck too far, the bags of Valentines will mysteriously disappear. They'll be rediscovered several years later in the girls' keepsake boxes, but I'll go to my grave denying any and all responsibility for the theft. The mystery, like the Valentines, will endure.