Classroom celebrations build a positive community

Kaitlyn Cheng, Features Editor

Children anxiously bounce in their seats as they wait for their teacher to give them the all-clear. Right when the teacher announces that the students may start, children jump out of their seats and rush around the classroom in a frenzy to pass out all their valentines. Afterwards, the students count all their candies and binge on heart-shaped chocolates.

This nostalgic scene strikes a chord with many as they recall the joyful memories of Valentine’s Day celebrations back in elementary school.

“I really liked [passing out valentines in elementary school,]” junior Lexi Carlisle said. “I thought it was really fun and got you excited for Valentine’s Day.”

Elementary classrooms hosted other holiday parties as well.

“Christmas parties were my favorite,” freshman Luke Van De Vijver said. “My mom would always bring in cupcakes for the class to eat, and the class would really enjoy all the food.”

Though all holiday celebrations were memorable in their own ways, St. Patrick’s Day holds a special place in some students’ hearts.

“[My class] used to build leprechaun traps and the teacher would put ‘gold’ in her candy, which was really fun,” freshman Cullen Kendrick said.

Students enjoyed seeing how the “leprechauns” would disrupt their classroom overnight.

“[I loved] coming into the classroom in second grade to see all the tables flipped over and all the chairs on the wrong side of the room,” Van De Vijver said. “It always brought a sense of joy [to me]. [It seemed like] the leprechaun really came to our classroom that day.”

While these classroom celebrations may seem like pure fun and games, they provide many benefits for students and the classroom environment as well.

“It makes [students] excited and gets all their energy out, so they’re ready for a day of learning ahead of them,” Van De Vijver said. “Everyone just ends up having a really great time, and at lunch time there’s something to talk about. It betters everyone’s mood.”

In addition, students find that holiday celebrations can improve their social skills. According to the Action for Healthy Kids Organization, celebrations are a great way for children to feel like a part of the school community. When the learning environment is made festive, both students and teachers can come together to enjoy a break from the regular routine.

“You get to talk to people you usually don’t get to talk to when you’re handing out [things] to everyone,” Kendrick said. “You can reinforce those friendships that you have others.”

The Livestrong Foundation also states that classroom celebrations promote healthy learning and reenergize tired students because celebrations link the classroom setting to a low-stress environment. They encourage creative thinking and even help students perform better on standardized tests.

It is important that teachers strike a balance between working and having fun with their students. Having an open mind and incorporating celebrations into the curriculum can deliver even more positive results in terms of student success.

“Overall, [classroom parties] were just super fun,” Kendrick said. “They were definitely great for making the class a better place to learn. They made the [classroom] environment way more friendly.”