Noah Hittelman devoted a morning in his kindergarten class to creating a handmade Valentine’s Day card for a senior citizen he has never met.
“Well, I hope it’s going to mean a lot to them,” the six-year-old student as St. George’s School in Westmount said. “I am learning about being nice in a whole bunch of different ways.”
It is all part of an initiative of his kindergarten class, at the suggestion of a parent, to create Valentine’s Day cards for seniors living in Place Kensington in Westmount. The class of 20 created 20 cards, to be delivered to seniors on Valentine’s Day.
“Part of our kindergarten program is very much about community and thinking about other people and developing empathy for other people,” said teacher Talya Barnes. “Part of our program is talking about kindness and how we help each other. So we talked about love and who deserves love and how do we show our love.”
Barnes says it’s a small gesture, but it’s an important life lesson for her young students.
“These are conversations we are having about thinking of other people and the world around us,” Barnes said. “They are learning about how to communicate their feelings, and thinking about the needs of people in their lives and their communities.”
Barnes added that many of the children aren’t seeing their own grandparents due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they understood and related to the senior citizens living in homes.
Taiyo San Martini wrote “You are kind” on his card.
“To me, Valentine’s Day means a day to show love to other people,” the five-year-old said.
Hannah Ryan is the recreation co-ordinator at Place Kensington. She says the health crisis has been exceptionally difficult for senior citizens. Place Kensington is currently not allowing any visitors.
“From the beginning, it’s been extremely difficult for them, unable to see their families and their friends,” said Ryan. “They are extremely isolated but we have started zooming.”
Ryan said the cards will be hand delivered to the seniors on Sunday, to mark Valentine’s Day.
“We are so grateful for these cards. The residents will be so excited,” she said. “It means the world to them.”
“The generosity, the thoughtfulness of the community has been overwhelming, just for our seniors to know someone wants to send them a card. They appreciate knowing they are not forgotten.”