Celebrating Birthdays in the Classroom

It took me a few years of teaching to realise the significance of birthdays in the classroom. As adults we can quickly forget the importance of this special day to a child. 

Birthdays can be a simple or fancy affair in your classroom - whatever feels right for you - what matters the most is that they are acknowledged. Some important things to remember are: 

1. make it special 
Remember, 'special' to a child can be as simple as the class singing 'happy birthday'.
I ask the child to come to the front of the class if they are comfortable, I say something like this:
'I hear it is a special day for you today, can you tell us why..... how old are you now..........did anything special happen to you this morning before school.... do you have anything planned to celebrate, or will it be a surprise..... are you having a cake?...' and so on. I banter back and forth for a little while, and this little 'moment in the spotlight' for each child is very special to them. I keep my questioning fairly consistent for each birthday and the kids like the routine of it. We of course then sing happy birthday together as a class and finish with birthday claps. A secret stash of 'birthday only' stickers works a treat too. 

2. don't ever miss a child
Most children are forgiving when you forget things, but try if possible to always remember the birthdays in your class. Keep a class chart or list of birthdays and encourage the students to remind you when a birthday is coming - they love that sort of responsibility and it will encourage them to keep an eye on the calendar - which won't hurt their mathematical development. Write all their birthdays down in your planner or day book at the beginning of the year.

3. acknowledge summer and school-break birthdays 
Hop back to this post to see a little idea for making sure the kids who have birthdays while school is out have a special treat too. 

4. establish guidelines
The beginning of the school year is a great time to remind parents about birthday guidelines at your school. Pop these reminders in a note or at your class meeting. Some parents like to send cakes to school to help celebrate. You will need to keep them informed about rules at your school regarding the sharing of food, cakes, candles and food prep. A nicely worded reminder at the beginning of the school year about birthday party invite lists can greatly contribute to your class community. 

Something like this:
'I would love to help you through the year distributing any birthday invitations for your child. Please pass the envelopes to me and I will ensure they are packed into school bags at an ideal time'. If you are speaking with a group of parents it may also be appropriate to verbally remind them how devastating it can be for the one child who always seems to get left off the initiation list and that you want to minimise the impact of this for them by handing them out discretely and without the fanfare that children normally innocently add. 

5. decorate
You can make a birthday memorable in the classroom by having just one or a couple of special additions to the room for the day - that only come out on a birthday. A birthday chair. A birthday pencil. A birthday sign on the door. Pop a balloon on the child's chair. Similarly you could also have 'special things' that the child gets to do if it is their birthday - be your helper, collect the lunches, choose the reading book etc.

Here are a few birthday printables I have in my store:

The printable pages of this packet will help you make a bright and fun birthday themed classroom banner! 

There is a cupcake for each month, where student names can be recorded and also a variety of birthday themed decorative pennants.

Simply choose the pennant banners you would like to include on your unique display, print, cut and clip to a line or string! Use them all, or print multiples of just a few to create your design!

The various designs also come in a 'backline' version - ask your students to shade or paint these before creating your classroom banner!

I have included an MS Powerpoint version of the cupcakes so that you are able to type the names of your students if you prefer

These candle posters will make for a lovely birthday display in your classroom that is fast and easy to prep!

Print these cute birthday candle posters to make a display of your students' birthdays.

You will need to write their names and dates of the month on each candle.

OR you can open the Powerpoint file including in this packet, type your students names and then print them out. 

There are 2 candles to each page and a heading that says "Our Birthdays'. 

I have included 2 different options - one with and one without a bright colored background. 

This one was born in 2006 and had about 3 revisions! 

Print these posters to make a record of the birthdays in your classroom!

A birthday display makes a bright and happy way to celebrate the special days of the students in your class. Involve your students in making the display and they will treasure it and use its information to make meaningful connections to their classroom environment.

This pdf file contains :

- cupcake posters
- cupcake shaped posters (cut them out)
- all months on one page poster
- door poster
- display header ('Our Birthdays')
- printable birthday card 

I have also included a text-editable MS Powerpoint file, so you can edit the text, add text boxes to type in your students' names, change the font etc. A full version of backline pages are also included (have you students color them in!)

Because memories, the past and the journey are all very special to me - here is a peek at how it used to look {eek!}

Thank you so much for popping over to my blog - sign up to the newsletter so we can stay in contact! 

Have a terrific day friends. 

- Mel x

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