Redland Elementary School

Daniel Dye / The Herald

First-grade teacher Melanee Erwin helps students at Redland Elementary School make Valentine’s Day greetings for the school’s staff and administration.

Valentine’s Day: Some think it is a made-up holiday for retail establishments to move greeting cards, candy and lavish dinners; others think it is a day to show how much people care for each other.

First-grade students at Redland Elementary School are celebrating the latter.

Last year, the students recognized workers in the community by delivering handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

“Last year, we went to the Wetumpka library, police station, fire station and mayor’s office,” first-grade teacher Melanee Erwin said. “We took a goody basket and little notes to tell them know we appreciate what they do for us.”

Erwin said the students will recognize the school’s staff this year.

“We are recognizing our cafeteria ladies, our art, Spanish and music teachers, library staff, special education teachers and all the people who help us out in the office including the administration, nurse and counselors,” Erwin said.

Erwin’s students began working on the greetings last Friday and have their work cut out for them. They are making large signs to place on office doors of the school’s staff, cards and other handcrafted items.

“We’re going to put the signs on the principals’ doors and counselors’ doors,” Erwin said. “We will put hearts on them and write notes telling them we love and appreciate what they do for the students.”

Erwin said the project addresses several educational purposes.

“Others play a really important part of our everyday life,” she said. “Without them, the school would not run as smoothly. Who is going to fix lunch? Who is going to help when you have a problem? I think it helps the students recognize these people are important.”

Erwin said she enjoys seeing how first-grade students grow as the school year progresses.

“They really build a lot of confidence at the year goes on,” she said. “Just like cutting the hearts, some had never done that before. They were successful in that project and for them to see they can be successful in doing something they had never done before.”

Erwin indicated the students learn how to work in a group with this assignment.

“There is a lot of social learning in first grade,” Erwin said.