Celebration of Life
Many Montessori institutions, including Kingsley Montessori, celebrate student birthdays with a celebration of life ceremony known in the classrooms as The Birthday Walk. The Birthday Walk gives students an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the life and growth of their classmate, in a positive, collaborative way.
The Montessori Birthday Walk
The Birthday Walk, beyond being a celebration of the birthday-student, is also a learning experience for all students. In keeping with Montessori philosophy, the birthday-student uses physical props to depict their journey and growth. The process begins by setting up the environment for a Birthday Walk.
Preparing for the Birthday Walk
A mat is laid out in the middle of the room, with a candle placed in a holder in the center. Around the edge of this mat, students place strips of paper, each with the name of a month written on it, in the proper order around the edge of the mat.
Students seat themselves around the perimeter of the room, so that there is ample room between the mat and the children watching. The birthday-student stands between their fellow students and the mat in the center of the room. When students are in their place, the candle in the middle of the mat is lit to represent the sun.
Trips around the Sun
At this point, the birthday-student holds a sandpaper globe, and steps up to the part of the mat that corresponds to their birthday month. The Birthday Walk begins with the birthday-student making their first rotation of Earth and body around the "sun." Each trip around the sun is accompanied by a verse of the birthday song:
"The Earth goes round the sun
The Earth goes round the sun
The Earth goes round the sun,
and birthday-student is one."
The birthday-student then pauses at their birth month, before beginning the next trip around the sun, to be accompanied by the next verse in the song. The birthday-student proceeds to circle the sun for as many years as they have been living, before ending the Birthday Walk by blowing out the candle in the middle of the mat.
After the walk has been completed, the birthday-student is invited to share photos from their past, and share a special birthday snack with classmates. Classmates also take this time to have a special question-and-answer session with the birthday-student. Students all gather to ask questions and learn more about what makes that student so special.
The Montessori Birthday Walk is more than just a birthday celebration; it's a Celebration of Life, a lesson in science, astronomy, and grace, and a community building experience for the entire class.