Birthday Celebrations in the Montessori Elementary Classroom
Every celebration in the Montessori classroom is linked to one or more curriculum areas. In this way children come to understand and appreciate why people throughout the world, of every race and culture, have created rituals.
Each child’s birthday can be celebrated in the classroom by having the birthday child carry a globe and walk around a ‘sun’ once for each year of life. This reminds the students that life is a cycle of seasons that occur because the earth turns on it’s axis as it revolves around the sun, and this complete cycle takes one year.
We encourage the child to bring photographs and a short story to share about their earlier years of life (as he/she travels around the sun). This is a great opportunity for parents to share memories with their child.
Example: When I was a baby I had a favorite blanket that was soft and green.
Here is a picture of me when I was three years old…
When I was one year old, my favorite food was…
Students may prepare a “book of drawings and complements” for the child celebrating his/her birthday.
Families are asked to support our nutrition program by sending a healthy snack to share – fruit cups, frozen yogurt, vegetable pizza.
Consistent with school policy, please do not send candy, cake, cookies, cupcakes or other sugar-laden treats. Also, please do not send gifts for the children.
If your child wants to have an at home celebration and invite students from school, please put the invitations in marked envelopes and give them to the classroom teacher to distribute so that classmates who are not invited will not feel left out.
Please call the Principal if you have any questions about the Montessori curriculum and philosophy or school policies.
Holidays and Children
Every teacher and parent has undoubtedly noticed the effect of holidays on children. This is especially true during our longest holiday season, which begins the end of October and can last into January. The children often show increased signs excitement and distractibility during these months that can affect their learning during the school day. Although holidays can be fun and exciting for children and families, and cultural holiday celebrations and parties are great family traditions outside of school, it is important for us to help students keep perspective and focus on the expectations for them at school during these times.
We make all efforts to keep a consistent routine for the students at Riley Dual Language Montessori School throughout the school year to support their focus and learning. We do not ignore the cultural holidays at school, but we have the students focus on the historical aspects of each cultural celebration, learning about the diversity of celebration in our community.
Here are some things that we focus upon in school during the holiday season:
- Keep things as usual in the classroom. Do not decorate the room with elaborate decorations which can distract the students from their learning. Do not host holiday parties. Students do not wear costumes at school on Halloween. Students do not pass out valentines or share candy on Valentine’s Day.
- Have some low-key holiday activities that relate to the history of the holiday within one to two weeks of the holiday break, but no sooner. The long build-up of anticipation can be too much for the children.
- Discuss with the children, and support their research on how holidays were historically in our country and around the world.
- Read stories to the children that describe the diversity of our culture and how a variety of holidays are celebrated in our country.
- Have children share their own family traditions.
- Invite parents in to share artifacts and information about family celebrations with the children.
- Discuss with children how the holiday season is traditionally a time for helping the needy in their community.
- Help older children realize what influence advertising can have on people’s perspective of the meaning of the holidays and their spending habits.