Thursday, April 16, 2009

Montessori History and Cultural Activities: A Look at Turkey’s Egemenlik Bayrami

NAMC montessori classroom cultural activities turkey independence day egemenlik bayrami young boys
An important responsibility I share as a Montessori educator is nurturing empowerment and independence in Montessori students, encouraging them to realize their potential for producing positive change and service in the global community. Using the study of history and noting the concepts and patterns of revolution, identity and independence, teachers are able to encourage in their students a sense of their place in the world. When students are aware of the value of independence and why it is worth acquiring and protecting, they can better understand world events and consequences, both large and small. When students understand the interconnectedness of themselves, the world, the universe and history in positive ways, they are better equipped for success in life.

Egemenlik Bayrami is Independence Day in Turkey. The day also honors children. It is celebrated on April 23 and is sometimes called "Sovereignty and Children's Day."

Montessori History and Cultural Activities: A Look at Turkey’s Egemenlik Bayrami

During World War I, the Ottomans were defeated. After that time, Turkey was occupied by other European countries including England, Italy, and France. An Ottoman commander named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, started a war for independence from the Allied forces and the old regime of the Ottoman. Turkey fought for years and eventually won their independence. On April 23, 1920, the first gathering of the Grand National Assembly was held and this day became Independence Day. In 1935, Ataturk (considered to be “The Father of Modern Turkey”) gifted the day to the children of his country because he felt they were the future. He wanted them to cherish their country’s independence. He also wanted them to live by the words, “Peace at Home, Peace in the World.”

On April 23, children from around the world can come to Turkey and stay with a family. Festivities last over a week. Young scouts plant trees to remind adults and children of environmental issues. The President, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Ministers and members of Parliament turn their positions over to children for the day. The children can even sign executive orders that relate to educational and environmental policies. The child who is President delivers a nationally-televised speech and the children in the Grand National Assembly hold a special session on children’s issues.
NAMC montessori classroom cultural activities turkey independence day egemenlik bayrami planting a tree
Activities for the Montessori Classroom Inspired by Independence Day in Turkey:
  • Celebrate a Children’s Day inspired by Egemenlik Bayrami with an internationally-themed festival.
  • Study the theme of Peace at Home, Peace in the World, and its personal meaning to students.
  • Plant a tree in honor of the Egemenlik Bayrami tradition.
  • Compare and contrast Independence Days from multiple countries. How did they come about? How are the celebrated? Create a timeline with the information. What are some of the oldest countries in the world? What are some of the youngest?
  • Allow students to take over adult roles at your school.
  • Replicate the Grand National Assembly and discuss issues important to the students.
  • Have students create a constitution for a fictional country that has recently become independent.
Suggested Books About Turkey:
  • A Primary Source Guide to Turkey (Countries of the World: A Primary Source Journey), by Christopher Blomquist
  • National Geographic Countries of the World: Turkey, by Sarah Shields
  • Exploring Turkey, by Amy Chaple and Audrey Boobar
  • The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey, by Demi
  • Folk Costumes of Turkey, by Amy Chaple and Audrey Boobar
  • Turkey: Cultures of the World, by Sean Sheehan
  • Turkey, by Tamra Orr
  • Welcome to Turkey, by V. Alexander
Turkish News - International Children's Day
Children's Day - Turkey
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, April 16, 2009.


  1. what a lovely suprise ...
    thanks from Turkey

  2. Thank you for mentioning our holiday:) I have a 2 year old, and I am excited again for our children's special day. We will take him to ceremonies together with my family tomorrow. It means a lot for Turkish children.

  3. It was my pleasure to write about your holiday! It would be wonderful if you shared with us some of the ways you celebrate. Thanks for reading!


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