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What is Love?

I saw some cut out hearts laying on the table in the Atelier and I wondered about their purpose, so I asked the EY2 teachers what had prompted this work.

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I am so glad that I had asked for an explanation, otherwise I would have made the assumption that this may have been a somewhat shallow adult directed task. I was told the story of how many children had come to school asking about valentines and hearts and love. The teachers had decided to find out what meaning the children brought to the expression ‘love’. Love, a fundamental element of being human with so much depth and significance.

The children shared their ideas:

“Love is like Valentine’s Day, kisses and cuddles.”

“Love is someone that loves people and this guy is about to marry and he loves her.”

“Heart.”

“This guy is thinking about her because she loves him.”

“That is somebody like a teacher and you marry and become lest friends.”

“If you love people you must hold their hand.”

“It says love means you like each other.”

“Love means you love someone by telling them.”

“It means to be in love with someone and looking at him or her.”

“You love someone because you kiss.”

“Maybe you’re friends with them and you love them so much.”

“I love granny.”

“If you love someone you give them something gold for their thumb or their finger.”

“Love is in your heart.”

“If you have zero love you will die.”

The children have a very special love for so many people and things and even for rain. They seem to have a sense that a world has to contain love, that without it we cannot survive. They showed such tenderness in their words.

At the end of the story I was left experiencing sensations of strong emotion myself, of joy and of pleasure and of optimism. These young children show a desire to be and to feel a part of the world. Much of what they learn is enriched and consolidated by interactions with others, demonstrating again the importance of relationships – relationship with people, places, objects and the environment. The children show how they possess amazing gifts of interaction and introspection.

This tenderness reawakens our souls, offering us the certainty that love is so sure that we never forget it.

I wonder, as adults, what meaning we give to love?