Wednesday, April 22, 2009

May Day Curriculum Activities for the Montessori Classroom

I was driving through my town the other day and I saw a sight I hadn't seen for quite some time – there in a front yard was a Maypole. I smiled at the memories that came flooding back to me.

While not a particularly popular celebration in the United States, May Day (May 1) is celebrated throughout the world. With origins dating back to the Druids, May 1 was thought to be the 2nd most important holiday of the year. Then called the feast of Beltane, it was believed to be the day marking the passage of half of the year. Mark the event with May Day themed Montessori curriculum activities in your classroom!

May Day Curriculum Activities for the Montessori Classroom

With the coming of the Romans, their celebration of Flora, the goddess of flowers, was added to the Druid May Day festival. May Day celebrants in the Middle Ages erected Maypoles in towns and villages, and permanent ones were erected in the larger cities such as London. Rising at dawn, English celebrants gathered fresh flowers with which to decorate the Maypole, then spent the day singing and dancing around it. The Puritans, however, frowned upon the festivities, calling them pagan, and the practice was highly discouraged.
May Day is still recognized in many parts of the world as a celebration of spring. In Denmark and France, they celebrate with lilies of the valley, whose delicate white flowers are said to bring good luck. Holland celebrates with tulips, and schools in Greece are closed while students gather flowers.

Montessori Connections
There are several ways to incorporate May Day into your Montessori classroom lessons.
  • Physical Geography – the study of the change of seasons
  • Botany – parts of the tree (Druids) and flowers (Romans)
  • Cultural Geography – Fundamental Needs of Humans, ancient religions, historical Time Periods and timelines, months of the year, celebrations throughout the year.
  • Health Sciences – creative movement and dance
  • Language – research reports, creative writing
The NAMC teacher curriculum manuals provide step-by-step activities across all disciplines:
May Day activities and crafts:
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 Wednesday, April 22, 2009.


  1. May Day is celebrated in our community although on a Sat so more people can be involved. It was started with the early settlers in the area and has continued each year. We have a May Day queen and escort and her court which includes all the High School Junior girls and their escorts. The grade school age girls do the Maypole Dance all dressed in alike dresses. There is a dance for the community on the Friday Night before with a program after the maypole dance on Saturday. If you want to celebrate with us, just stop by and enjoy the festival here in Mendon, Utah.


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