7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Sep 22, 2011

Birthday Celebrations with a Purpose in Gillispie’s Early Childhood Program

September 22, 2011

Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can; Roll it up, roll it up; And throw it in a pan! Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man.
One of the ideas Room 1 teacher Julie Brackbill brought back from her professional development visit to the town of Reggio Emelia is the tradition of how children’s birthdays are celebrated at school, their home away from home. As she shared with the early childhood faculty, it is common practice in Reggio schools to honor a child’s birthday by having his or her peers bake a cake. Gillispie teachers were intrigued by this practice and appreciated its communal emphasis; thus, this year, we will put this practice into effect. Though the flavor may vary–carrot, vanilla, or maybe sour cream–the children will honor their classmates on that special day by making the cake in our student kitchen. Of course, the birthday child’s parents might be asked to bring in fruit or juice to round out the menu. Additionally, in some classrooms parents are encouraged to bring in newborn photos or memorabilia from their children’s births (booties are always a favorite), while other classrooms have the birthday child go home prior to the event and complete questions in a “Birthday Book” about memories and favorites (“My favorite thing to do with my family is ______”). This method of celebration provides benefits for both the birthday child and the other classmates. The child has an eager audience who is very interested in hearing about when he or she was little (because they are so old and big now!) and the young bakers/chefs enjoy the responsibility of letting their peer know that the birthday child is special and loved. Alison Fleming
 Head of School
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