The Montessori Birthday Celebration, known as the Circle of The Sun Ceremony, is a really beautiful tradition that celebrates a child’s life while connecting it to the passage of time.
While you might not want to do the full celebration at home, there are some wonderful parts that you can weave into regular birthday parties, like:
sharing the story of your child's birth and the first day of their life, along with a photo.
sharing a photo from each year of their life and talking about what they were like at that age, milestones they reached, or anything else special that happened. You can also share a toy or other item that was special to them at that age.
These stories help to make the day a little more meaningful for the child and it gives them an opportunity to reflect on their experiences.
What Is A Circle of The Sun Ceremony?
During the ceremony, the birthday child circles the "sun" once for every year of their life, pausing after each lap to discuss that year.
You can use many different items to represent the "sun", like a candle, yellow play silk, image of the sun, etc. We have a simple printable that you can use, found by clicking here.
Children learn best through experience and this celebration helps children to recognize the passage of time by recounting the experiences they had throughout the year.
How To Do Circle of The Sun
While all schools and families do it a little differently, these are the general steps most people use:
Set up the "sun" on the floor. Like I mentioned above, the sun can be man different items, like a yellow silk or scarf, a candle, or a printable, like the one we use. There are 12 labels set up around the sun, like the rays, each with a month on it.
Parents prepare photographs for each year of the child’s life, along with a couple of sentences describing some things the child did that year or "milestones" they achieved.
In school, the teacher talks about it how it takes a year for the earth to go around the sun. They connect this to the significance of the child walking around the candle and the passing of a year.
The child walks around the circle showing their classmates the photo for that year while the group sings. Every school has a different song they sing but it’s usually about the earth going around the sun in a year. My son's school uses this song but a quick Youtube search shows many different options.
The parent talks about the photos and what the child was like at that age.
The child repeats until they’ve gone around the sun as many times as their age.
Lastly, the birthday child blows out the candle, if you're using one, and everyone sings "happy birthday".
I also find this is a really lovely ceremony for parents because we love and cherish those memories of our children.
It's a time to share those special memories, celebrate our children, and look back on everything that's happened since they were born!
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