Especially when you are a child, celebrating your birthday is a long-awaited moment to share with your friends. But do you know how birthday is celebrated according to the Montessori method ? There is a real ritual that makes the birthday boy the protagonist of this very important day.
Among the many useful teachings and educational ideas that Maria Montessori left us there is also the one on birthday, a special day for each of us that traditionally is celebrated with cakes and gifts. These aspects, at least from a Montessori perspective, are not very important, on the contrary it is fundamental to celebrate the birth by placing the birthday boy and his story at the center.
Precisely for this reason Maria Montessori has created a very beautiful and suggestive rite…
The Montessori rite of birthday
This ritual is part of the child’s cosmic education. It goes like this: in the center of the room there is a circle divided into twelve segments representing the months of the year, in the center there is the sun with a candle on it. On the segment of the month of birth of the child is placed a small globe and as many candles as the years of the birthday boy.
All the guests are seated around the circle and the protagonist of the party can wear a crown for the occasion. When everything is ready the birthday boy goes to light the candle of the sun which symbolizes the moment when it came to light. Immediately afterwards, he takes up the world map (which symbolizes the earth revolving around the sun) and, starting from his birth month, makes it move by completing a tour for each year of life already spent.
At each lap, the child, helped by a small picture or single photo that contains the salient moments spent, tells the most important events in his story (the first time he walked, spoke, when he went to kindergarten, the birth of a little brother, etc.) and then, after completing each round, lights one of the candles placed next to the segment of his birth month (which symbolizes a year of life).
It is a fun system that actively involves the child, puts him in front of the passage of time and teaches him the right weight to give to the beautiful things that have happened, all in an atmosphere of sharing with others.
Tips for organizing a montessori-style party
The party can take place as you and your children like it, of course it would be better to follow, also in the rest of the organizational details, according to Montessori principles :
- Location: even a simple home or a wooden room is fine without excessive embellishment and loud music
- Games: prefer the most stimulating ones, avoid inflatables and plastic but rather choose wooden toys or toys made with everyday objects.
- Cake and buffet: it is better to involve the birthday boy in the preparation of the cake. The cake can be made completely at home or it is also possible to decorate it according to your imagination. The same goes for the rest of the buffet: the child will be able to stuff sandwiches, take out sweets, place trays on the table, take care of the glasses, etc.
- Gifts: if you have to make a Montessori-style gift, you have a wide choice of games (however important that they are made with natural materials and stimulating according to the age of the child) and books.