We had Annabelle’s very first Montessori birthday circle today, and I just couldn’t wait to post a photo. Those of you who are already fairly familiar with Montessori probably know all about birthday celebrations. For those who aren’t familiar, I’ll give you a brief rundown.
Specifics vary by program and by teacher, but in most Children’s Houses, there’s a similar approach to the celebrating of birthdays. Children usually gather together in a circle, rectangle, line, or whatever configuration they use for group time on a normal day first. Then, the teacher places something representing the sun in the center. I use a candle in a pretty tin holder with star cutouts on top. Next, I say the names of the months while laying out cards for each one. By the time we’ve had a few birthdays, the children can usually say the months along with me, or even by themselves. It’s hard to tell by the photo, but I have a little image representing the season on each card. The winter months have snowflakes, the spring months flowers, the summer months watermelon slices, and the fall months autumn leaves. The back of the cards have the numerals 1-12 written as a control, so that they can be placed on a tray as an individual sequencing work for older, reading children. I don’t have them out now, because we don’t have advanced readers just yet.
With everything set up, the birthday child takes out the colored globe and finds their birthday month. Their parent is invited to show a picture of the birthday boy or girl as a newborn while sharing a tidbit or two about their birth or early days. Then, the child begins walking slowly around the circle holding the globe, while their parent says a few things about their first year of life. When the child has made it back to their birthday month, the parent can show a photo of the child at age one. The walking, talking, and photo sharing continues for the second year, and any subsequent years, until the child has walked around the sun once for each year of their life. At this time, I invite the birthday child to sit down and we all sing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song. The birthday child blows out the candle in the center and, at least in our program, they pass out a special snack brought from home, to enjoy with their friends in celebration. Annabelle and I made some mini apple muffins for her celebration today.