A Montessori teacher cannot end the year without celebrating the community. It is as important to bring closure to the year as it was to set the tone when she began the year. There are important rites of passage to recognize and celebrate.
It is important to recognize pre-established traditions if your Montessori school has them. Children are creatures of habit. Ritual and tradition play an important role in their development. If your school does not have any end-of-year traditions, feel free to create your own. Here are some ideas for year end celebrations for your Montessori classroom.
Year End Montessori Community Celebration Ideas for Your Classroom
Recognize Summer BirthdaysJust as the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland celebrated Un-birthdays, it’s important to recognize those children who have summer birthdays. If you do not celebrate half-birthdays, set aside a time at the end of the year to have those children “walk around the sun”, as my children called it. Invite parents to come and tell their child’s “life story” and end the celebration with a simple snack.
Graduation ceremoniesIt is a time mixed with joy and tears as our elder Montessori students move to the next level. Honor their achievements with recognition of the time spent in their current level. A small token presented by the teacher is sure to become a cherished memento. Upper elementary and adolescent Montessori students are encouraged to prepare and present speeches. This is a great extension of the Montessori language and practical life curricula. Afterwards, invite parents and students to celebrate with a small refreshment.
Class PotluckI enjoy having community meals every other month where I invite parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) to come share a meal prepared by my Montessori students. During this time, the students share stories, poems, or research that they’ve written, perform skits, sing, or play instruments. It’s a time of sharing both a meal and what we’ve been learning. Ending the year with a potluck takes the burden off the teacher to find the time to prepare a meal, and allows the students to bring in something from home. At this time, it is nice to have students thank class parents and others who have volunteered during the year.
End-of-Year School PicnicIt is good to come together one last time as a whole-school community. Parents can be asked to donate ingredients for fruit salad, vegetable trays, and cookies. The children can prepare the food ahead of time in class. Additional picnic foods can either be supplied by the school or by parents. If there is a school song, gather together before the meal to sing together. This is a great activity to have on the last day of school. After the picnic, the parents simply take the children home with them.
Do you have a year end celebration that you'd like to share with other NAMC readers? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, May 29, 2007.