Montessori Birthdays

Montessori Birthdays at Vibrant Wanderings

Our circle rug – ready to celebrate.

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.

The best photo I managed to snap of the birthday girl while simultaneously leading group time. I wish I had given the camera to someone else! Next time.

The best photo I managed to snap of the birthday girl while simultaneously leading group time. I wish I had given the camera to someone else! Next time.

16 thoughts on “Montessori Birthdays

    1. melissa Post author

      Thanks, Rach. She chose her white outfit, and was careful to complete it with both white socks and everything :) This a few days after she chose a bright orange shirt and red pants and informed me that she wanted to clash. She knows just what she wants when it comes to clothing!

      Reply
  1. Discovering Montessori

    Happy Birthday Annabelle! What an awesome child you are!!

    The birthday celebration sounds like it was just perfect for Annabelle, and making her own snack I am sure made it even better.

    I don’t think you can ever take a bad picture of Annabelle, she is just adorable!!

    Thank you for sharing andI am so happy to be a reader of your blog, and feel privileged to know there is a three year girl with a whole lot of class.

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      You are too sweet. I agree, Annabelle looks lovely no matter what – my photography just didn’t do her justice in this one ;)

      Reply
  2. Pavana

    A very happy birthday to Annabelle, love her curls, she is adorable! My daughter turns 3 on 15th :)

    Love the circle time, obviously this is new to me :) thanks for enlightening!

    Reply
  3. courtney

    Hmm…tried to comment before but it seems to have gone missing. Thanks for sharing the details of this very sweet tradition for those of us not -in-the-know about such things. And a very happy birthday to your beautiful girl!

    Reply
  4. karen

    We do the same celebration of life, but we add a few more items. We read The Day You Were Born, then we have a beautiful little heart pillow that fits in your palm. We pass the heart around the circle. Each child holds the pillow to his/her heart and gives the birthday child an affirmation of love and friendship by saying something to the birthday child that is really special to them. The parents usually donated a book to the school in honor of their child.

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      What beautiful little traditions! I absolutely love the idea of the heart pillow. That is such a meaningful way to shower a child with love on their special day. Thank you for sharing that!

      Reply
  5. Aubrey @ Montessori Mischief

    Montessori birthday celebrations have always held a special place in my heart. Children have such a hard time understanding the concept of a year, and this makes it very concrete what exactly we are celebrating. I’ve never seen it done with the months in picture form! I am inspired to go make that!

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      I totally agree on the awesome concrete-ness of the Montessori celebration :) I’m glad you like my month cards! I wish I still had the file and I’d send it on over for you to print. If only I’d had google docs way back when I was training and in my early years of teaching…

      Oh, and the rug is from here: http://www.etsy.com/people/myneedleworkoutlet I love it, too! I was pretty shocked at her prices.

      Reply
  6. Kayla

    That sounds great, I love looking at the different traditions and cultures and how they celebrate birthdays (and other events) I cant tell you why and maybe its just because it is what i am used to but I really struggle to see how a “normal” birthday part for akids in the UK is special, its just like a get together with the highlight been the cake. We need to come up with something a little special and try it out!
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