This is a traditional Montessori celebration, designed to help children understand the passing of time and their growth from birth to present. We were planning to do it yesterday on Aaron’s birthday, but by late afternoon I had gone to bed with a thumping headache and so we ended up doing it this morning instead.
The talented Rachel from Little Woodlanders made the sun for me at very short notice. It’s made of maple, painted with non-toxic watercolours and the hole in the centre is just the right size for the brass candleholders from a Waldorf birthday ring. It has twelve points, to represent each month of the year, and we used the magnetic labels from our weather calendar to label them. Thanks Rachel, it’s perfect!
For the earth, I wet felted a blue ball and then needle felted some green continents. It’s a very long way from being an accurate model, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter!
I showed the children a photograph of the day Aaron was born. Then we sang whilst he slowly carried the earth around the sun, starting at January and walking round the candle.
“The earth goes round the sun
The earth goes round the sun
It takes a year
Your birthday’s here
And Aaron is one”
(sung to the tune of Farmer in the Dell)
Each time he arrived back at January, I showed him a photograph of himself on that birthday. When we reached five, we sang Happy Birthday and the children blew the candle out. This is a lovely concrete way to help children understand what birthdays are, as the concept of months, years and time can be rather abstract.