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What is the birthday Montessori ceremony?

The passage of time is an important concept for the children to understand. With each birthday, children start to have an understanding that they are growing older with every passing year. Maria Montessori introduced a beautiful ritual to help the children to understand the passage of time on their birthday.

A candle, representing the Sun, is lit in the middle of the room.   The children (and teachers or family members) sit in a wide circle around the Sun while the birthday child stands next to it holding a globe to represent the Earth.  The child then walks around the Sun as many times needed to reach his age.  As the child walks, the teacher and children sing “The Earth goes around the Sun, the Earth goes around the Sun, the Earth goes around the Sun and “name of the child” is turning 1 (then 2, 3 and 4 according to his age). After each turn (therefore each year), the child stops and we look at the picture of himself for that year. When he reaches his year, he blows the candle and we sing Happy Birthday and we clap as many years as he is.  

We can also provide simple explanations about the Earth revolution around the Sun, saying that the Earth took one year to go around the Sun.

This is the Birthday ceremony of my daughter when she turned 3 years old!

What do you need to celebrate the Birthday ceremony?

  • candle in a candle holder to symbolise the Sun (to place in the center and on the Sun picture)
  • Representation of the Sun (draw one, print one, make one with felt)
  • A Earth Globe (the child will hold the Earth and walk around the Sun)
  • A circle to walk around (draw one with chalk, children and family members sitting in a circle around the candle, long rope)
  • Months of the Year labels to place around your circle
  • Pictures of important moments of your child’s life (one picture before he was born, then one for each year at least)

So let me know if you celebrate your child’s birthday that way!


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