Monday, October 29, 2018

Our Classroom Birthday Celebration ECE

There are very sweet Early Childhood celebrations in Waldorf and Montessori!

Since both influence our homeschool co-op classroom, we blend our favorite elements from each tradition and combine them to make something special!

from Waseca Biomes

from Nienhuis Montessori

from Nova Natural

Setting Up the Space
We began in the morning by placing a divider between the living room and dining room. At 9 am when the birthday child arrived, he got to come and choose his favorites of my collection of birthday ring ornaments, plus five brass candleholders and five hand-dipped beeswax candles. He carefully arranged them in the 12-hole cherry birthday ring on my dining room table.

Then we asked the other children not to peek until the birthday celebration began.

(Just a note if you're thinking of doing this. My teenagers love this tradition so much our family has had to also get the 16-hole birthday ring, which Natalie is set to outgrow at her next birthday! Luckily, these two rings can nest inside each other, allowing you to go up to age 28 if you really want to!)

We enjoyed our hour of morning indoor play time, as usual.

The Montessori Elements - The Celebration Sun & The Timeline
When his mother arrived at 10 am, Becca helped her set up the birthday treat in the kitchen. We lit the candles on the Birthday Ring and left it on the dining room table, then lit the candle in the center of the Celebration Sun and carried it to the living room for circle time.

Instead of our usual Circle Time routine, we had a special Birthday Circle.

In the Montessori tradition, the birthday child holds a small globe and walks around a sun to show the passing of time, year by year. As this is happening, the parent holds up a picture of the child at each age (birth, age 1, age 2, age 3, etc.) and the class can see it. Parents also talk about milestones (he got his first tooth, he took his first steps, etc.). I took pictures of the sample text which Waseca Biomes provided so you can get a sense of the story.

Everyone loved seeing the baby pictures of the birthday child and hearing about how he changed as he grew older! All of the older children in our homeschool co-op joined the little ones in listening to the family memories.

The Waldorf Elements - The Birthday Ring & The Songs
All of our songs were from The Singing Day book & CD set by Candy Verney.

To call everyone to come to the Birthday Circle, we sang "To You We Sing" (track 82 on The Singing Day CD).

    To You We Sing

    To you we sing
    And birthday greetings bring
    To celebrate your birth,
    An angel here on earth.

After we did the Montessori Celebration Sun and Timeline, I blew out the sun's candle so that we could all move around the room safely, and we slid across the room divider so that the children could see the beautifully decorated Waldorf Birthday Ring.

We sang "We Wish You a Happy Birthday" (track 84 on The Singing Day CD) as we walked into the dining room and gathered around the table. He blew out his candles and we clapped. When the birthday treat was passed out, we sang the traditional Happy Birthday song and then sang our usual mealtime blessing song, "Blessings on the Blossom" (track 23 on The Singing Day CD).

    We Wish You a Happy Birthday

    We wish you a happy birthday
    A joyful and happy birthday
    To you dear ___________
    We wish you a long, long life.

My gift to the birthday child was a full-length peacock feather. After our lovely snack we went outside to play for the rest of the morning!

It was just right. It felt like a real celebration, but it was not too long.

the birthday child chooses the ornaments 
(and the right number of candles) and arranges the birthday ring

time for the celebration to begin!

the Celebration Sun comes with suggestions for wording
(click on photo to enlarge)

siblings enjoying birthday cake
after he blew out all of his candles successfully

playing outside in beautiful Autumn weather

Happy Birthday!!!

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