Today we celebrated Julia's birthday at her school. Birthdays are a big thing in Kindergarten and are celebrated by the whole class with a Birthday Circle. This is a new tradition to us and I just love it!
During the Birthday Circle, the birthday child sits on the special cat chair (Julia couldn't wait to sit on that chair!) that is usually used by the teachers to read books during circle time. The teachers and the students in the class sit on the carpet in a circle and each person is asked to pause and reflect for a minute on why they like the birthday child. Then, each person in the circle says something that is special or fascinating or wonderful about the birthday child. Afterwards we sing Happy Birthday and move the name/age card from the one row to the new, older age row. Family is encouraged to join in the birthday circle and so Chris and I attended it for Julia today.
It was so wonderful to hear what the children and teachers had to say about Julia! There were a lot of comments on how kind Julia is, how she always plays with the other children and never tells them no when they ask to join in, how she shares so readily, how she is always ready to help her friends out. My absolute favorite remark, though, was when one of her classmates burst out that he likes Julia because she has a GREAT heart. I think that totally captures Julia! It actually made my eyes well up a bit. Julia sitting in the middle of the circle looking so proud and at the same time checking on me with her eyes to make sure I was listening to what everyone said and when she could tell I did she gave me this little smile. Both teachers also commented on what they like about Julia and her one teacher mentioned that her classmate who said she has a Great heart really summed up what Julia is all about while the other teacher said that there is nothing that she doesn't like about Julia - she loves everything about her and mentioned some specifics and said she and the class are so wonderfully lucky to have her as a friend. Then the offered to let Chris and me comment and we added what we love about Julia and I mentioned her silly side, her great laugh that always keeps me smiling and how she is the best big sister I have ever seen.
The Birthday Circle was such a positive experience and so unique! I just loved everything about it. After the circle and the song, it was time for lunch so Chris and I stayed and ate with the class. Chris acted very goofy and the children just loved it! I stayed for the treat while Chris went back to work. Julia made the pretzel turtles with M&M candies on top for her classmates and they were a big hit. After distributing them to the class she was able to pick a classmate to join her in going around to others in the school to give out her treat. It was so funny to watch all the children start to lobby to have Julia pick them to take with her, but the teacher quickly dispelled the children to allow Julia to pick without pressure. Her friend and I went along with her and I loved meeting the different teachers she liked so much she had to share her birthday treat with them. They made such a big fuss over her and the treat and Julia was really shining throughout the whole adventure!
Julia's teacher asked me to come back again and visit with the the classroom and to bring Emma along next time. She didn't join us today because it was her first day back to school after the break and her schedule didn't match up with the time of Julia's event. I'm thankful to my father-in-law who came to the house to collect Emma off her bus and hang out with her until I returned home - thanks Michael!
It seems that we are having a bit of a weeklong celebration for Julia's birthday. We went to Build-a-Bear on her actual birthday since it was still holiday break, then today was her Birthday Circle and on Saturday is her party with her friends. It sure is a fun week for Julia and I'm so happy to have a whole week to focus on my special little girl!