Thursday, September 17

A Birthday Celebration

We recently celebrated my daughter's 4 year birthday. It is so fun to celebrate now that she is aware and interested in celebrations and traditions. This year we started some new traditions. These traditions are inspired by Montessori and Waldorf birthday celebrations.

I love the birthday ring, originating in Europe and used by Waldorf families. Each year another ornament is removed and a candle put in it's place.

I added a bit of Montessori to this, with the telling of my daughter's life story. Before any candle was lit, I started by saying: "______ was born September 16, 2005 in (city, state). It was a warm evening, around dinner time when you were born in the hospital. Mommy and daddy had waited all day and Grandma had arrived to see your birth. At 5:16 you were born. You had lots of dark hair on your head and you were so small. You had to be held and taken care of all the time. You couldn't talk to tell us what you needed, you slept a lot, you had to wear diapers and drank only milk. By 6 months you could sit up, laugh and hold things. (Then I lit a candle) Then you turned one. When you were 1, you learned to___, you liked to___ . I continued to her present age and said: "And now, you turn 4 years old! You can ____ . Your favorite food is___, and you love to _____. Happy 4th Birthday."

The telling of the life story is part of the Montessori celebration. Parents write it with their child and then come into the class to share it while the child does the "birthday walk." The life story is a tradition they look forward to hearing each year . The birthday ring is a beautiful way to celebrate years of life, past and future, but even if you don't have a birthday ring, you can just as easily use the candles on the birthday cake to light and tell your child his/her life story.

Another tradition we started was the personal time-line. The time-line is part of the Montessori birthday celebration. The child (with the help of the parent) puts the photos in order to make a personal time-line. We will keep ours and add to it each year.

Our other traditions include a birthday place mat, a birthday crown, and a special morning surprise waiting at the child's seat at the kitchen table.

I would love to hear what birthday traditions you use!


My Boys' Teacher said...

Thank you for posting your little "script." I've read about Montessori birthday celebrations before, but was unclear about how you would actually DO IT in practice. This cleared it all up :)

thank you!

Amy said...

Happy birthday to your little wonder. Where did you get the birthday ring? I have had trouble finding one in the US and the European ones are so expensive once you pay shipping.

La Dolce Vita said...

I too love the birthday ring, and would love to know where/how to order one.

Laura said...

Thank you for making me think! our birthdays have become too materialistic and i find myself burned out on really should be a day to celebrate your child, not just buy gifts. thank you for the reminder! Does montessori tradition do anything different for older kids (like 16)? i too am interested in where you found your birthday ring. thanks!

My Child's Diary said...

Happy Birthday! 4 years sounds so much! I also love integrating a few Waldorf ideas into our life. Our son is only 2 years old, so the celebrations are mostly led by us. Yet it is fun to invent our own family traditions. I've made the Birthday Ring for our son, based on Waldorf traditions, only I wanted to put some meaning into it. So I created a few scenes based on general human values, which hopefully will lead to many conversations when our child is older. You can see the ring here Also I intend to add a few pictures from each year, so that when I tell my son his life story, he could follow it by the pictures. Even this year, while yet not talking, he was so much into looking at the pictures. I guess it will be such a celebration when he grows up. Even though he can have as much time to grow up as he (or is it me?) needs.:)

Eileen said...

This post made me cry. My daughter's 10th birthday is today, and I wish I'd heard of traditions like these 10 years ago! We will definitely be adding her life story to the candle lighting tonight...if I can do it without sobbing!!! :)

I came here through your post on lacing tubes via Crafty Crow this morning, and can't stop poking around. I have very little experience with Montessori or Waldorf, but I have sensed in the past that many of the ideas would be wonderful to put into practice -- and I certainly sense that now. There's a calmness and simplicity permeating everything you share, and it's very appealing.

What a beautiful home, and what wonderful ideas. I am certain all three of my children will benefit, starting today. How often does that happen on a near-random blog stop? Thank you so much for sharing! (A snack drawer! A children's fridge! Why didn't I think of that??)

There's gold to be mined here, and I can't wait to get to it! :)


P.S. Happy Birthday to your own sweet little one!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Thank you for posting this informative post about Montessori birthday celebrations. I didn't even know about this before. It was very informative.

Amy said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments. The birthday ring comes from Nova Natural Toys and Crafts- a link is on the side of the blog. Laura-I would love to find more about Montessori for that age group. I only have experience with 3-6. Luckily, I made it through the Life Story without tears (so confusing for little ones)and we get to do it all again next month for the youngest.

Anonymous said...

How interesting is your blog!
My mother was a Montessorian Teacher, too. Reading all this... it sounds so familiar, even if I have not certain memoirs.
Thank you for all the suggestion, I'll use them with my little Giulia, she'll be 2 years on september 28th.
Silvia from Italy

Elise said...

Hi Amy

What special birthday traditions. I like the idea of the personal time-line, it serves as such a wonderful, visual trip down memory lane.

My little girl recently turned three and this year we have started a tradition of doing a birthday interview. I plan on asking the same questions every year.

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MagicofEden said...

This is a really helpful post! My sons Celebration of Life is coming up at his Montessori school and I've been in anguish over how to make it memorable while staying on the given path. Thank you!

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