Growing up, I feel that I had a wonderful education - great teachers, great classmates, great lessons in a great area. Wasn’t perfect of course, and one thing that I couldn’t understand was that, even in elementary school, birthdays were so unimportant, we weren’t able to celebrate - even a little bit. Sure, we got our birthday announced during morning announcements, but that was the extent of it. Not really a celebration, and if there was there were ALL sorts of restrictions on the time of day that there could be any kind of acknowledgement of a birthday, and definitely restrictions on what could be brought into the classroom to eat and/or drink.
What I love about our early childhood program is that each birthday is valued and celebrated - every child gets a day that is just for them; finally some birthday recognition. I play it up to make it everything that it can be - personally, I’m a big holiday and birthday kind of person.
Every time there is a birthday, three or four students get together to form a birthday committee. They hold a conversation about the birthday boy/girl - his/her likes and dislikes, interests, skills, etc. Together, they decide what they are going to make their friend. In our class - every present is made using paper. The committee works together to make the gift, and on the day of the birthday celebration, they present the gift to their friend. It’s really beautiful.
Of course, it’s important that parents/families are there for our very special days too - we couldn’t do anything without them!
We have celebrated four birthdays so far (including mine!), and have a lot to look forward to in January - we have FIVE birthdays coming up in the next month.
So bring on the cake, the gift making, the celebration of our friends on their special days, the togetherness and excitement we get to experience every time we have a birthday in our classroom.