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School Birthday celebration ideas?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am trying to help my dd's school find ways to reduce the amount of sweets consumed in the classroom. One area that I think could be changed is the Birthday celebrations, which usually consist of cupcakes with icing, but at times parents have even sent in candy and Pepsi (!). I brought this up at the school council meeting and the feedback I got was that they would like me to come up with some alternatives to bringing in food for Birthdays (there is also a child with a peanut allergy within my dd's class, so avoiding food altogether seems the best way to go). We need to provide fun alternatives, that can replace the sweets.

One idea I had was to have the Birthday child bring in photos of him/herself showing how his/her growth and all the changes. Does anyone else have suggestions? I'd like to give them a list of ideas that would be fun for kids from JK to Grade 6 (different ideas for different age groups is fine).

Thanks for any help you can give!
post #2 of 10
I think it should be up to the individual child what they do. I don't see any point in doing something on the school's time if they aren't bringing in food to share, but that's JMHO. They may as well keep it private and do something outside of school and invite the children to a birthday party that way.

If other kids don't want to participate then they don't have to. I have a kindergartner this year who has kids in her class who can't have cupcakes or cake, two who aren't allowed dairy and another who can't have nuts. None of them ever have a problem with parties. The class has had several parties this year that the teacher arranged around holidays. I couldn't imagine a whole year with NO parties.

I believe most kids over the age of 5 understand they need to eat the items they 'can' eat like chips, cheese doodles, fruit, cookies, muffins, etc. Most parents bring a nice selection anyway.
post #3 of 10
At our school we don't do sweety sweets, so the parents bring fruit juice popsicles (actually fairly sweet) or occasionally muffins, or popcorn. The kids all sing happy birthday to the b-day boy or girl and then they eat the treat and run and play.
post #4 of 10
At the kids school they don't do class birthday celebrations so there are no treat days for that.

When there is a party(valentine's day, christmas, halloween, easter) most classes kids can sign up to bring something & alot of it is treats though there are those parents who send fruit/veggies.

However my dd in Grade 1, her teacher does it differently. For each party she assigns 5-6 kids to bring something. 1 is to bring crackers, another pickles, another cheese, another meat, another cake/cookies. Then she rotates through the class list for who brings what for those parties. That way it cuts down on the amount of sweets the kids are getting.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
I think it should be up to the individual child what they do. I don't see any point in doing something on the school's time if they aren't bringing in food to share, but that's JMHO. They may as well keep it private and do something outside of school and invite the children to a birthday party that way.

If other kids don't want to participate then they don't have to. I have a kindergartner this year who has kids in her class who can't have cupcakes or cake, two who aren't allowed dairy and another who can't have nuts. None of them ever have a problem with parties. The class has had several parties this year that the teacher arranged around holidays. I couldn't imagine a whole year with NO parties.

I believe most kids over the age of 5 understand they need to eat the items they 'can' eat like chips, cheese doodles, fruit, cookies, muffins, etc. Most parents bring a nice selection anyway.
It is mostly that I'm concerned about the amount of sugar consumed by my girls during school time. I allow them sweets, but I'm picky about what sorts (I try to avoid stuff with colouring, for instance), and I want to be able (at least while they are young) to keep tabs on how much they consume. My eldest doesn't react well to sugar - in fact, give her enough and you'd assume she was a very difficult child. On top of this, they have inherited teeth that seem to decay quicker than many childrens' teeth. Both my girls had root canals (among other work) before they turned 3. (Please don't assume our dental hygiene is lacking either... we brush AND floss 'religiously' every day... but now I'm getting off topic.)

The allergy issue is separate, but since I am looking for alternatives to sweets, I thought maybe I'd ask about non-food suggestions. Yes, the children with allergies learn to not take part in the food at the class parties, but in my mind, that doesn't really feel like a positive thing to ask of a young child.

And, my preference would be to not have a celebration at school at all. But, that's the culture of the school, and the reason I was asked to come up with alternatives.
post #6 of 10
Well, we are at a Waldorf school where the child's birthday is a really revered and is celebrated with a story about the child's birth. The parents are invited, the birthday child is given a birthday crown as a gift and made to feel very special. I wonder if there are some aspects of that which could be included.

I have also heard from someone that at their school the birthday child brings a gift for the class on the day.

How about a special craft project-make birthday hats, dip birthday candles or something similar?

Could the class get a birthday ring? They could bring it out for each birthday and sing to the birthday child.

Are there facilities to bake a cake? I ask because that way the kids could make a cake together and the amount of sugar or whatever could be controlled by using set recipes. That way the kids would learn a bit about baking and get a treat that was acceptable to everyone.

I do quite like your idea of the photos as well.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
Well, we are at a Waldorf school where the child's birthday is a really revered and is celebrated with a story about the child's birth. The parents are invited, the birthday child is given a birthday crown as a gift and made to feel very special. I wonder if there are some aspects of that which could be included.

I have also heard from someone that at their school the birthday child brings a gift for the class on the day.

How about a special craft project-make birthday hats, dip birthday candles or something similar?

Could the class get a birthday ring? They could bring it out for each birthday and sing to the birthday child.

Are there facilities to bake a cake? I ask because that way the kids could make a cake together and the amount of sugar or whatever could be controlled by using set recipes. That way the kids would learn a bit about baking and get a treat that was acceptable to everyone.

I do quite like your idea of the photos as well.
Yes, these are good ideas. I especially like the idea of baking the cake together, although I'm not sure the that all the teachers would go for that (my youngest is in JK and they do bake apple crisp and things like that in her class). I might be able to convince them that it not only teaches one how to bake, but uses measurement and helps them learn to follow instructions (and eat the consequences if they don't). The photo idea really wasn't mine - it came from a more elaborate celebration that a friend told be about (she's a Waldorf teacher). I've just reposted on the Waldorf forum... as I know there is quite a bit of variability in what is done school to school. Maybe I'll get some more suggestions there. Thank-you for yours!
post #8 of 10
I really liked what our teacher did when I was in kindergarten. We had a plasticine cupcake(it was very nicely decorated with sparkles and such) with a candle in it that the teacher would bring out for each child's birthday. She'd light the candle, we'd sing happy birthday, and the birthday child would blow it out. The child was made to feel special and have a little celebration with their classmates, but there was no sweets or mess.
post #9 of 10
Our school has a birthday book program. To celebrate your child's birthday, you donate a book to your child's classroom library. Then your child has their name added to a big "birthday cake" near the main office in the school. My son has a summer birthday, so we have not had to worry about the question of sending treats.

Some parents still send treats, but the school requires that they must be store bought (yuck) and they must be sent home. So the kids don't actually eat the treats at school. My pet peeve is when parents send cupcakes from the grocery store with blue frosting. Then a class of first graders come out at 3pm carrying blue frosted cupcakes - yucky and messy.

I LOVE the birthday book program!
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogamama View Post
Our school has a birthday book program. To celebrate your child's birthday, you donate a book to your child's classroom library. Then your child has their name added to a big "birthday cake" near the main office in the school. My son has a summer birthday, so we have not had to worry about the question of sending treats.
They do this at the private school our younger children attend. Each month they have a special school-wide event where all birthday kids take their books up and donate them in front of the whole school.

However, they still get to have parties in the classroom as well if that's what they want to do. So the book program doesn't change that.
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