Recently my twin daughters turned six years old and since they attend a Montessori school, we had the wonderful opportunity to perform the Celebration of Life ceremony in their classrooms. For anyone not familiar with Montessori, this is a school that I feel comes as close to the principles of Oneness as possible when teaching the children. It began in Italy in the early 1900s by Dr. Maria Montessori, a doctor and educator who achieved remarkable results with children by designing an educational program that makes the most of the innate desire of children to learn. Her model of education was based upon each child’s inborn desire to learn. Dr. Montessori believed that children have an absorbent mind which enables them to absorb an immense amount of information during their first six years. The concepts and information taken in from birth to three are part of the unconscious mind; they become part of the child’s conscious intelligence as the child more actively manipulates objects in the environment from ages three to six. The following quotation was taken from the Association Montessori Internationale’s website:
What followed has been called the “discovery of the child” and the realisation that: “…mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation.”
As a conscious parent who has had daughters in Montessori for three years now, I can say that they have really thrived and flourished in this environment. They have exhibited a great understanding of our unity and associated concepts and I was very excited to try out the Celebration of Life with them. Instead of a traditional American birthday celebration with cake and singing, I was asked to create a biography for each of my daughters.
For two days I spent finding pictures of them for each year they had been alive. I became engrossed with home videos and extremely sentimental about their upcoming birthday. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions including the feeling of the first love I encountered when they were born, the sentimentality of years passed, the joys of the many adventures we had already embarked upon. This was truly a loving reflection of their time here on Earth with us and I was filled with such a huge amount of love and joy.
I carefully picked out the pictures for each year of their life and wrote about their likes and adventures for each of the those years. I waited for what seemed like days before I could finally show up in first Maggie’s class, and then Sophie’s class. Each class did the ceremony a little bit differently but the concept is still the same:
1. All of the classmates formed an ellipse on the floor (yes, these children all know what an ellipse looks like). This represents the Earth’s orbit.
2. Place a picture of the Sun in the center of the ellipse, or a candle, and small candles for each year they are born. Candles are definitely optional and in Maggie’s class they used battery driven “candle” lights.
3. The birthday child will hold a picture of the earth, or a globe, or the first picture in the series of pictures to be used. The picture of her birth.
4. Each month is written on a piece of paper and placed around the sun.
5. The child will stand on the paper that has her birth month. The parent or teacher will read the statement for her first year: “On January __, 2005, Maggie was born in the hospital. She was so tiny she had to stay in the hospital for 10 days.”
6. The child then walks around the ellipse going past all of the months and stops again on January while the children all sing, “The Earth Goes Around the Sun… The Earth Goes Around the Sun…. Around and Around and Around and Around… The Earth Goes Around the Sun.” In Maggie’s class she would turn on one of the little candle lights each time she got back around to January.
My experience was just as exciting as I had hoped it would be. It was so fun for me to watch as all of Maggie’s and Sophie’s classmates demanded to see the pictures as they went around. No one wanted to miss a single year and it really touched my heart to see thier friends together in this way, celebrating the day they were born. I know that day was certainly incredibly life-changing for me!
One last thing I forgot to mention was a book that was read in Sophie’s class prior to her Ceremony. It was called “On the Day You Were Born” by Debra Fasier. For me it spoke truth for all beings born on this planet. It explains how everything celebrated the moment of your birth.