Montessori Celebration of Life

IMG_20141212_103109-2 Montessori wasn’t a fan of fantasy for children under the age 6 and was concerned with helping to nurture citizens who put the welfare of the community first.  This may sound like a mix of no tooth fairy and no self-aggrandizement which can leave a family questioning how a birthday could be celebrated within a Montessori classroom.

There are as many ways to celebrate a birthday as there are classrooms but the main theme I have seen across the years as a parent and guide is one of celebrating life and the contribution our life makes to a community. Usually a classroom may ask for a donation of a book, CD, or material in lieu of sugary treats or trinkets.  We have donated books with bookplate dedications to the classroom from our children each year. It is a long-lasting memorial to our child’s special time withIMG_20141219_110346-2 each distinct community they have been a part of.  It is in stark contrast to the mounds of presents, expensive party rentals and sugar binges that flood the average child, and that’s a good thing.  We need to teach our children the importance of community and belonging, how to receive and giving back.

Here is a classroom celebration that we have done in our class, it also includes a candle in the center to the circle to represent the sun, and the names of the months printed out (a great opportunity to work these in). You can read the months out as you lay them around the sun, and even include other children in the celebration with a simple statement of “raise your hand when you hear your birthday month read”.

The Story of You! A Montessori Celebration of Life.

“(NAME) was born on (DATE) at (LOCATION) in (City, State, Country) on the planet earth.”

Tell us about the occasion; weather, who was there, etc. include a newborn photo.

“When (NAME) was 1-year-old s/he….” (Tell us what your child liked to do, places to visit, etc.) Include a photo of your child at 1-year-old.

“At 2 years old (NAME)… “ (Tell us about vacations, favorite family members or memories). Include a photo of your child a 2 years old

“When (NAME) was 3 years old…”(what was your child’s favorite book, song, etc?). Include a photo of your child at 3 years old.

Continue on for every year until this birthday year. Customize this to suit your child’s life experiences, include first words, when they started talking, favorite stuffed animals, any details that feel appropriate to share with the class.

“Now (NAME) is 4 years old.  S/he loves to….. (visit the park, ride a bike, read)” Include what you child is doing these days.

The birthday child will carry the globe around inside a circle of friends, making a full trip around the circle for each year of life while the class sings “The earth goes around the sun” song. The guide will read from this story during the trip and share their photos with the class.

“The Earth Goes Around the Sun (to the tune of farmer in the dell)”

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

It takes 12 months to go around

And then (NAME) was 1.

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

It takes 12 months to go around

And then (NAME) was 2.

Repeat.