February: Valentine’s Day Card Exchange
On this day we bring in a very special card we have created at home for a friend whose name we have drawn in advance. This is a first in a series of events where we give the children an opportunity to give and receive. It is also the first occasion of the year where the family, as a whole, participates by working with our student, to make something really special for a friend, that is then brought to school on this special day.
March: Boat Float Day
Yet another opportunity where parents are invited to create something with their child, only this time- to design and make together an object that floats! We like to include a specific objective and that is –using materials derived from the earth. We celebrate this event by inflating a small pool that is situated in our ball yard, fill it with water and with all the parents in attendance, each child gets to introduce their creation and place it in the water to show that it floats (or not!)!
April: Celebrating Spring on Earth Day
On this day we decorate- our school, our faces (with face paint) and our heads with flowers, leaves, and ribbons-all from the Earth! This is a full day of color, special art projects, story time, snack treats and a parade around our neighborhood- all to honor our precious Earth!
June: Our Graduation in the Redwoods
The location-chosen for its’ beauty in the Redwoods at Lake Lagunitas in Marin- serves as a culmination for each graduating child’s experience at Glen Park Montessori- our connection to the natural world. Our ceremony includes: a welcoming by Rosemary, Head of School, specially chosen songs the children wish to sing for their families, a presenting of the flowers (where each non graduating student presents the graduating student with a farewell flower), the tying of the flowers with a ribbon by the parents- representing a closure of one phase of their child’s life and the beginning of another. Graduate certificates are given and at the conclusion, all teachers, non graduates and parents form an arch that the graduates walk through while we sing the lovely song: Go In Beauty. We then all enjoy the potluck picnic at the picnic benches and perhaps later, a walk around the lake for a look at the abundant wildlife! It is a most wonderful day, and one to be remembered.
Of course there has to be costume parade-always a hoot! In advance we create gifts for our local merchants as a thank you for their support and one graduating child presents each merchant a gift as we make our way around the neighborhood. This tradition replaces the getting of candy (who in the world thought of that?) Parents are invited to attend as well so we make quire a celebratory crowd!
December: Winter Solstice and Tea Party with Gift Exchange
Again, in advance, the children have chosen the name of one of their classmates and created a gift made at home (emphasize “made at home”!) which is then brought to the tea party for the gift exchange. In this way, the experience is both to give, as well as receive. Parent volunteers bring homemade cookies and the school prepares lavender/ chamomile tea that the children serve to their parents. It’s a fun, very lovely celebration and launches our Winter Break for all to enjoy.
Birthdays are of course celebrated in the Montessori tradition of a walk around the sun for each year of the child’s life- with photographs from home of each year from birth. As a school tradition we suggest that the birthday child bring a favorite book to contribute to the school library and birthday cookies for treats after lunch: yummy!