Birthday Celebrations at Anthea Montessori: Primary


Watching a child countdown to their birthday is a joy-filled experience: they are so excited about the milestone to come! At Anthea, we believe in celebrating the special day with some small traditions which help the child, and the class, see how far they have come since they were born.

In our Primary classrooms, the children gather in a circle, with the birthday child near the adult facilitating the birthday ceremony. A light source representing the sun is placed in the middle of the circle. The months of the year are arrayed around the ‘sun’. The birthday child is then invited to pick up a globe, and slowly circumvent the sun as the class sings the song, ‘The Earth Goes Around the Sun’. This symbolizes one year of the child’s life. The child then shares a photo of themselves at age one, and is prompted to talk about what they could do at that age. The process continues for each year of their life, as the group marvels at the growing child. The group enthusiastically states when they can see a match between the baby photos and the birthday child as they know him/her now!

The child’s family, who is invited in, often chime in with anecdotes or inputs. It is a very special experience for the birthday child when so many of the people close to him come together to celebrate his unique life journey. Since we have a strict no-candy policy at birthdays, we suggest that the child shares a fruit or vegetable with the class. They may also choose to contribute a book to the class library, with their name and date inscribed on it. It is lovely watching the birthday child take ownership for this book over subsequent years!

We invite all our parents to take note of the guidelines in the Birthdays section of the Anthea Handbook (available o We look forward to celebrating your child’s birthday in their Primary environment!

Packing School Food: From Toddlers to Elementary


Rare is a parent who doesn’t worry about their child’s eating habits, particularly at school. We highly recommend letting the child themselves partner with you on their food journey. When your child gets involved in the preparation of their snack/lunchbox, they:


* Develop motor skills as they prep and pack their boxes
* Practice time management and discipline, which can help you with your morning routine, and set them up with skills for life
* Feel in control of their mornings, so are likely to be in a positive frame of mind
* Eat better, since they signed off on what was packed and won’t end up feeling unpleasantly surprised


How much your child can contribute depends upon their age. It’s best to begin as early as you can. Even two year olds are capable of spreading butter on crackers, cutting fruits with a butter knife, peeling eggs, and putting pre-prepared portions into their boxes.*


As your child grows older (4-5), they can be entrusted with washing, dry, peeling and cutting vegetables. This is also a good time to let them start making decisions on how much to pack in their boxes. Involve them in your grocery shopping (this is a great way to get them to write lists as well!).
Give them sole responsibility for filling water bottles and placing them in their bags. After a few weeks with reminders, do see if they can do this by themselves. Even if they forget to bring along a bottle on some days, we can provide them with water at school – but discovering the consequences of fulfilling responsibilities serves as a valuable learning experience.


As for elementary age children, aim for them to take full responsibility for their lunches by the time they are 9. Children must be able to go grocery shopping for the week with a pre-prepared list, prep for their food the night before or early in the morning, and pack it themselves. Do support them by helping them with alarms and reminders, as required. Elementary children can also take responsibility for cleaning their food containers at the end of the day.


As parents, you often face a choice: do something for your child, or teach them to do it for themselves? While the former is faster and easier for the adult in the short term, the long lasting benefits of letting a child help themselves cannot be overstated. Do set up a prepared kitchen environment, come up with a realistic plan for your family’s needs, and help your child get started. You will soon start seeing a happier eater!


*Please note that nuts are NOT allowed at school, as we have several children with life threatening allergies. Please refrain from sending in nuts in any form.

A Montessori Perspective on Reading to your Child

Studies across time and geographies agree that reading to your child provides them with innumerable benefits. Children who are read to as infants have a stronger vocabulary, and those who read for fun consistently show higher academic achievement in both school and college. In a classroom setting, it is easy to tell which children have a culture of reading at home – they are the ones who listen attentively, and gravitate to both storybooks as well as the opportunity to write for themselves. Now, if you were to approach a child with this compelling data, would it make them sit and listen to you read a book?

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Is the Montessori Pedagogy Still Relevant?

More than 100 years since Dr. Maria Montessori began her work with children, schools around the world follow the pedagogy she outlined.More than 100 years since Dr. Maria Montessori began her work with children, schools around the world follow the pedagogy she outlined. And yet, it goes without saying that we live in very different times. Isn’t the Montessori philosophy outdated in a world filled with technology and nuclear families?Continue reading