I have my first student birthday coming up, and I don't know how to approach it. I was wondering what everyone else does. Do you send home anote to the parents about what to send or what we're doing?? Any help is much appreciated
I had info about my birthday celebrations in a back-to-school packet.
I usually call the parents beforehand. I'm very clear about what is OK to bring. For example, no cakes, cookie cakes, or ice cream. Those things are a nightmare to cut equally and serve in a timely manner. I ask for treats in individual portions. Drinks are optional.
The child gets a birthday sticker and pencil. In the afternoon we celebrate by making cards, singing the song, and eating the treat.
They get to bring home a birthday backpack with 2 birthday books and a Clifford coloring packet inside.
There is no need to contact parents, unless you are wanting them to bring in treats. In my primary school (over 20 years) we never have started that tradition. The few times a parent has brought something in without checking with me, it has taken a good half hour out of my teaching day to sing (again) cut, share, eat, and pose for photos. Multiplied by 22..... well, I discourage it, and so I have no reason to contact parents about a birthday. Still, I do really want the child to feel special - she would be the helper all day, have a card from the class, a crown, special pencil, badge, sit in a specially decorated chair, have the birthday song, the class mascot on her desk.....but I can handle all that at calendar without taking teaching time.
Like one of the PP, I don't allow birthday parties because of the time it takes away from instruction. I have tried to avoid the role of social director because I already wear too many hats.
We do acknowledge the birthday at morning meeting and through out the day. I have a special treat for the birthday child (as does the cafeteria), but I don't "give up" instructional time.
Vent: This is a real issue because my children come from a first grade teacher who spends most of her time playing with the children (I mean that literally.) She hasn't met a coloring sheet she didn't like. (This may explain why I have to work so hard getting them up to grade level.) Birthday parties are 2 hour extravaganzas with each parent trying to outdo the other. Needless to say, my policy is met with a great deal of dismay. Thank you for letting me vent. This is the first time I have said it "outloud." I feel better.
P.S. I like the way our K teachers handle this. They have a Birthday Day. All birthdays are celebrated on 1 day. I think they even have a picnic at lunch instead of eating in the cafeteria. Anyway the "party" itself is celebrated in about 1.5 hours, and that's it for the year.
My students get to be the helper for the day, and receive a birthday pencil. I addressed birthdays in my parent letter---individual treats and/or drinks if the parents choose to send something in. We always celebrate at the end of the day (combined with recess) and sing happy birthday in all the different languages we have in our class.
I also put that clearly in the back to school letter. I have kids with sever nut allergies. If it does not come in the original package bearing the peanut free symbol or listed ingredients, no dice. They get name announced over the P/A, a pencil from the office and a happy birthday certificate and bookmark from me. We sing happy birthday. If they get treats it is either at a lull in the day, right before recess. Etc.
Our district and school have rules about birthdays. Parents may send in a small store bought treat. I (or the parent, if they stick around) pass it out at lunch. We sing happy birthday on our way to lunch. I place a birthday sticker on their desk which they can wear. We do have some parents who push the limits and send in goodie bags, but I hold them until the end of the day and give them out as they walk out the door. I am not an event coordinator. This is not part of my job. I feel like the parents are sometimes trying to take the easy way out instead of having a party for their child. missamy - do you really want to take on this extra responsibility? I realize your heart is in the right place, but teaching has to be your priority.
I would not send a letter to the parents about what to bring. That is setting an expectation for them that they may not be able to afford, or want to provide. They will approach you if they want to do something, but a letter will put them in a bad spot.
I do allow birthday treats (within our strict health guidelines!) and just ask that it is all individual portions to make it easier to hand out. My kids eat it instead of morning snack so it takes no additional time to our day and it is important to them .
We do not have an actual birthday celebration in class .. who has time for that?!? The student's birthday is announced during announcements, I give them a special birthday pencil, let them wear our birthday crown for the day, and we sing to them during morning calendar. If a parent wants to bring a treat they can, but it must be during lunch and it must be store bought.
I have a birthday bag....its one from hallmark. It has music playing when you open it!! I think the song is Celebration! The child gets to open it on his birthday and pick a prize out. Prizes are from the dollar store or I PARTY. We dance a bit with the bag open. The kids love it!
That's all we do. We sing happy birthday and their birthday is announced in the morning over the PA to the whole school.
I didn't mean to offend anyone by asking for a letter... I just know what happened in the classes I student taught in, and what happens in the schools in my area. I wasn't wanting a big to do; I just didn't want parents to show up on the day of the birthday with a bunch of treats and in the middle of a lesson. I thought I'd be proactive about the situation; guess I was being naive.
Thanks for your comments though. Hope you're all having a good year.
I have a letter that I include in my open house packet and then again at the beginning of the birthday month. I suggest that the parent purchase an age appropriate book for the classroom,if they wish. We will read it that day and then it is included in a special birthday box.
I tell them that they may include a birthday treat and encourage healthy treats that can be used during snack time. This year we must have a peanut free classroom due to allergies. So far one parent sent in treat bags that we handed out when the children were dismissed. The second child sent in treat bags including cheese and cracker snack pack, a fall pencil and eraser plus stickers. He also brought in a book that related to our theme "silly stories". I was impressed. The children make a birthday book for the child. It is simply half of a plain sheet of computer printer paper. The child writes, Happy Birthday----- and draws a picture including some of the child's favorites. This makes them listen to the birthday child! I bind them together as a book with a construction paper cover. We also sing to the child and s/he is the special helper of the day. I give a pencil, a birthday sticker, and a birthday award certificate. I have a letter. If you would like a copy, send me your e mail address.
I reread your post and am thinking I misunderstood it the first time. Do you mean you would send it specifically to the one family, or to the whole class? If you would be sending it to the whole class, disregard my first response! I include it in the Curriculum Night agenda to make it low stress and let everyone know from the beginning. I was thinking you were sending a note to a certain family for their child's birthday, and you will always stumble across the family that doesn't want to do it!