Birthdays are always cause for celebration, especially in Waldorf education. Traditions and rituals help children to experience the rhythm of the year, and celebrating a birthday honours the child’s place in the family and in the world. Below are some suggestions for bringing meaningful traditions to your child's birthday at home.
You can begin the night before. Before bed, you could light a candle and share this verse with your child.
When I have climbed into my bed,
And dreams begin swirling in my head,
And Mother/Father turns off the light,
I’ll still be  years old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be  years old!
 kisses when I wake,
 candles on my cake.
Give the number of kisses for their age for the past year and tell them that when they awake, you’ll give one more kiss in the morning.
After your child is asleep, you can 'set the stage' so to speak, for their special day. Some families create a path from the child's bedroom to the area of celebration. This could be done with leaves from outside or cut out paper hearts, seashells, balloons or whatever you feel is appropriate for your family.
In the area you wish to celebrate, you can create a 'birthday table.' This could be as simple as a small table draped with material or silks upon which you can place a wooden birthday ring. The ring usually has 12 - 16 holes around the circle. Each year, you light the numbers of candles your child is turning.
Birthday Crown & Cape:
To make their birthday a royal affair, in the morning, once they have followed the path to the birthday table, you could ceremoniously place a birthday crown on your child’s head, and a birthday cape on their shoulders. Then you could tell them their birthday story.
After lighting the candles, you can tell a 'Birthday Story' that is unique to the child you are telling it too. The story might include a child looking down on the earth from above, seeing their parents and choosing to cross the 'Rainbow Bridge' to join their family on the earth. Below is an example of a possible story you could tell to your child on their birthday and story details can be changed to fit your unique family.
Another option is to save the lighting of the candles until after this first part of the story in the following way...
They looked in awe at this new life and said “We shall call him/her/them ____________ “
(Light the first candle) When (name of child) was 1 (tell a bit about what your child was like at 1 years old and continue each year till the year they are turning) ______
(Light the second candle) When (name of child) was 2 they, ____
(Light the third candle) When (name of child) was 3 ____
(Light the fourth candle) When (name of child) was 4 ____
(Light the fifth candle) When (name of child) was 5 ____
(Light the sixth candle) And now (name of child) is 6 ____
(Light the seventh candle) And now (name of child) is 7!!
Then you can sing your traditional birthday song followed by cake and gifts and other birthday traditions your family already has or is now creating.
The Birthday Book by Ann Druitt has wonderful ideas for bringing meaning in the Waldorf tradition to your child’s special day including ideas for games and activities, recipes, decorations and much more.
There is no right or wrong way to create meaningful birthday celebration so make it your own and have fun!
Daily Wonder recommends that you take time to conduct a baseline assessment when you begin teaching your child each school year. Then, by observing them in everyday activities, you can track their development and become aware of areas that may need extra attention. Below, you will find specific areas to assess, ways to observe your child, and suggested activities to help strengthen particular areas of need.
Children typically favour a dominant side of the body around age seven. You can check if your child has done so by observing them with the following activities.
Crossing the midline is a necessary skill that is related to bilateral coordination. This is the ability to use both sides of the body in a coordinated and organized manner, where one hand is the stabilizer, and the other hand is the performer.
Crossing the midline is the spontaneous movement of one hand, foot, eye into the space of the other hand, foot, eye.
You can see how handwriting requires this skill, as the arm, hand, and eye travel from the left to right, crossing the body's centre. Letter formation also requires this crossing.
Many everyday activities require us to do this; however, some children may need more specific focus to cross the midline fully. Activities that address the hand and foot are easier to practice and can help support the eye and ear to align as well.
Activities to Support Hand Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
Activities to Support Foot Dominance:
Healthy Posture & Pencil Grip
It is essential to have healthy habits when it comes to posture and pencil grip. This will serve your child over the years as the demands for sitting at a desk and writing increase.
Ways to Support Healthy Posture:
Ways to Support Healthy Pencil Grip:
Eye-tracking is an important foundation skill for reading. It’s important to notice whether your child can move their eyes horizontally while their head stays stationary. It is common to observe a tremor at the centre midline, which may indicate difficulty crossing the midline.
We use our memory for imaginative thinking. For example, when we remember something we’ve been told or see, we build imaginative pictures in our brains, leading to high-level thinking. The ability to build pictures takes practice, and we can strengthen this skill through memory games.
Links for More Info & Activities
Establishing Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
Explore schedules, rhythms & routines, songs, music, festivals, free play, meals, projects & more to support your homeschooling program.
The Wonder Squad