Celebration of Life

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By Mata Montessori instructional coach Bianca Swayne

One special Montessori tradition is the celebration of a child’s birthday.  Called “The Celebration of Life,” it involves the child standing in the middle of a circle with all of the children seated around him or her. In the center of the circle is a paper cut-out of a sun and the 12 months of the year. The birthday child holds a globe, representing the earth, and stands next to his/her birthday month. With the help of the parents or pictures sent from home, the teacher begins to tell a special story of that child’s life, beginning with the day they were born. The child then walks around the sun while holding the globe to represent our journey as the earth makes a trip around the sun each year of our lives. Each time the child returns to their birthday month, the teacher or parent shows a picture and briefly highlights important events from that year. The child’s parents can also provide a healthy snack that the class shares together at the end. (Please see DISD’s Smart Snacks guidelines.)

Each classroom will have a slightly different version of the celebration and even different versions of the song they sing.  Just as we respect and celebrate the individual differences in the cultures of our students, we honor and respect the differences in the cultures of our individual classrooms. What is most important is that the class joins together to honor that child’s unique journey and celebrates their special day.  Reach out to your child’s teacher for guidelines specific to your classroom and to schedule your child’s celebration of life.