We recently celebrated our first birthday circle with the group in the Seedlings classroom. At first circle we entered the classroom and let the children know that we were about to do “something special”. In the center of our circle space there was a felt sunshine, a globe and a candle. Once we were all seated, we began to share with the children what a “birthday circle” is. We announced that today was the day two years ago that a very special friend was born on Earth. The teacher holds the globe and points to the spot we know as home. The electric candle is lit and the birthday friend is asked to walk around the sun.
The child walks around the sun, holding the globe and with each turn the teachers sing, “The Earth goes around the sun in a year and __________ is one year older.” For a toddler child the walk around the sun will be 2 or 3 times and then the group sings “Happy Birthday” and shares in a group snack. We thank the birthday friend for the special snack that they prepared for the group and dismiss friends to wash their hands.
Over the course of the school year, the children will attend several of their friends’ birthday circles, during which they are observing several important concepts.
• Each friend in the room has a special day that is celebrated with the group;
• The birthday circle is an event where we all sing and honor the birthday friend;
• Everyone will get their own birthday circle;
• We are all growing older every day; and
• We all have a birthday once a year.
At morning circle we regularly sing several songs about the change of seasons and days of the week; “ The Days of the Week”, “Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall” and “The Weather’s Getting Cold So Bundle Up” are a few. Practicing these songs and sharing birthday circles are a few ways that a young child develops the concept of time.