A Montessori Birthday Celebration

Written by Christina Trujillo

We celebrate birthdays at Emerson School with a special ceremony. Unlike traditional birthday parties, a personal timeline is the focal point of celebration in the Montessori classroom. This timeline is simply a collection of pictures and anecdotes of the birthday child from birth to the present.

We share this timeline on the child’s birthday, reading it aloud while the birthday child holds a globe of the Earth and walks around a candle, representing the Sun. The child does this one time for each year of their life as the teacher, parent or another student reads the timeline and shares the pictures. Then the birthday child blows the candle out and the children sing, “Happy Birthday.” Class members then take turns acknowledging the birthday child with gestures of warmth (hugs, handshakes and handmade cards).


Families enjoy sending in a special snack to celebrate the occasion. Some families even provide a health conscious lunch for all of the students.

Christina Trujillo

Christina is a Senior Administrator at Early Learning Institute, a Palo Alto-based organization that operates child care centers and private schools in the Bay Area—including the HeadsUp! Child Development Centers in Palo Alto, North San Jose, and Pleasanton, Emerson School in Palo Alto and Hacienda School in Pleasanton—and offers writing programs for school-age children.

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