Happy Birthday!

Finally I’m getting to cover a topic in our preschool class that I’ve been wanting to do for some time…  BIRTHDAYS!!

One of the boys in the class had a birthday over the weekend, and he is having his birthday celebration in class in the morning. We’ll have to move our class back a little bit to accommodate the celebration. But it’s such a special event in the school, I don’t mind a bit!

I’m not sure how it is in other Montessori schools, but in our school, birthdays are a big deal in preschool and kindergarten. The whole family is invited to come for a short celebration. First, the children set up a sun with the months around it in the center of the circle. Then the birthday child is brought to the circle by two friends. The parents bring in some pictures of the child – about one from each year – and tells a short story of the child’s life. For each year, the child walks around the sun while holding a small globe of the earth, and everyone sings: “The earth goes around the sun, tra la, the earth goes around the sun! The earth goes around the sun, tra la, another year is done!” The child also presents a small present to the class (a book or some other materials that can be added to the collection of classroom “work”). And then everyone sings Happy Birthday, but with an added verse: “We celebrate your birth – and your place on earth. May the sun, moon, and stars – bring you peace where you are!” It’s so beautiful, I cry every time!

So I was inspired to do a little lesson on German birthdays. After our Begrüßungslied, I thought I’d teach the children how to say how old they are: Ich bin x Jahre alt! They are pretty good at their numbers by now, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then I’ll introduce a few vocabulary words that are important to any birthday celebration:

der Kuchen  ~  das Geschenk  ~  der Papphut  ~  die Luftballons

You can download these word posters here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch Word Posters GitA 2017

I’ll also teach them how to sing “Happy Birthday” in German. We’ll leave out the name to keep it simple:

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

I was going to read a book called Der Bär hat Geburtstag by Isabel Pin (Beltz & Gelberg, 2015). It’s about a bear who is worried that none of his other animal friends will come to celebrate his birthday … but of course they all do! I liked the different animals in it, and it also showed the birthday images above (cake, hat, balloons, present).

But in the end, I decided to go with Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut by Paul Maar (Oetinger, 1997). It is about all the different animals and they presents they bring to the mouse on his birthday. What I liked about this one for the preschoolers is that it repeats the same text for every animal:

“Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut. Gleich kommt Besuch, der sie sehr freut. Welches Tier kommt denn hier und will der Maus was schenken?  …

Nun schau gut hin, nun gib gut Acht: Was hat das Schwein denn mitgebracht?”

You get a hint of the animal who is coming (like the trunk of an Elephant), then turn the page and have a sentence about that animal. Then comes the question of what the animal brought as a present. It doesn’t show all the birthday vocabulary I wanted to introduce, but I think that’s okay. The repetition is more important in this case!

Because we’ll be reading about a mouse, I also will do the Mausfamilie Fingerspiel again. They always love that one!

die-mausfamilie-fingerspiel-w-translation-page-001

Here is the PDF of Die Mausfamilie that you can download: die Mausfamilie Fingerspiel with translation

I always send them home with a coloring page, too!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017-page-001

You can download that here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!