It’s May and we recently celebrated my daughter’s 4th birthday. To commemorate her life, we did the Montessori Birthday Walk for the first time! It was a really special way to be thankful for her being in our lives and appreciate how she has grown to become who she is right now.
What is the Montessori Birthday Walk?
The Montessori Birthday Walk is a celebration where the child shares their birthday with their classmates or family members.
The children learn about their journey from birth to the present day. They enjoy listening to stories, looking at photos, and talking about happy memories. They want to know how much they are loved, and how their presence in our family or classroom has become a special part of other people’s lives or the world.
It’s a way to celebrate the birthday child and learn too.
Objectives of the Montessori Celebration of Life
- To celebrate the birthday student and make them feel special and appreciated
- To learn about the child’s journey from birth to the present day, including listening to stories, looking at photos, and talking about happy memories
- To show the passing of time and the child’s growth from birth to the birthday celebration using props such as a sun, the months of the year, a candle, and a globe
- To help the child feel connected to their place in the world and practice thinking while having fun and celebrating their life
- To help children understand the concept of time and basics of astronomy
How to Celebrate Birthdays in Montessori
Preparation and Materials
- Put the sun celebration mat in the center of the room.
- Put a candle in the holder on the center of the mat. This represents the sun.
- You can also try using a flameless candle.
- Put paper strips with the names of each month (free download) along the edges of the mat, arranged in the correct order of months.
- Prepare the globe (usually the sandpaper globe or an inflatable) for the child to hold while having the birthday walk.
- Prepare photos or videos of the child at each age, as well as a list of memorable events or stories during that year.
- The children form a big circle around a sun placed on the floor. Ensure that there is enough space between them and the mat you laid out.
- Explain about the 4 different seasons and that life is a cycle. Place the months, starting with the month and season of birth date.
- The birthday child, holding a globe to represent the Earth, stands near the label that matches their birth month. Explain that it takes 12 months or 365 days to make a year long trip around the sun.
- Ask the child what we get from the sun. Light the candle then, teach them how to safely light a candle with a match:
- Strike the match away from your body;
- Strike over something that cannot catch fire;
- Blow the match out away from everyone;
- Put it in water and listen for the “shh” sound it makes when the heat is put out.
- Explain to them that matches burn after the flame is put out.
- The birthday walk begins as the child rotates around the sun to the next month and so on, in the correct order. One turn around the sun is one year.
- Every year, when your birthday month starts, we celebrate your rotations around the sun. We sing a song (to the tune of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) that goes like this:
The Earth goes around the Sun, the Sun
the Earth goes around the Sun
The Earth goes around the Sun, the Sun
And then (name of the child) was one (then two, three, etc.)
- We finish singing the verse as they stop when they get back to their birth month.
- After each rotation from age one, we pause to look at photos of the child at that age and recall memorable events from that time.
- When you complete all your rotations (for instance, five rotations for your fifth birthday), you can also sing a Happy Birthday song at the end and then have the child blow out the candle.
Share what you think of this in the comments! 👇