Birthday Celebration at Preschool

Updated on June 11, 2010
C.M. asks from Denton, TX
11 answers

I'm curious what a typical birthday celebration is like at other preschools. I thought we would be celebrating my daughter's today and I was so disappointed.

Her birthday is May 18, but we had her birthday party at home on May 8. We just invited a few girls from her class. I was excited to also have a tiny celebration at her school which I planned for today because she won't be in school tomorrow. During the beginning of school a note was sent home stating that it would be okay to bring cupcakes for your child's birthday and maybe their favorite book to read. They discourage party favors and try to keep it real low key.

This month also happened to be friendship snack month where each parent signed up to bring a healthy snack to share. I signed up for the 17th specifically to celebrate my daughter's birthday. I let the teachers know last week that I was hoping to celebrate her birthday on the 17th. When I dropped her off at school and mentioned it again to the teachers and asked what the other parents normally do for the B-day celebrations and they said just bring the food.

I brought the food and her favorite book for the teacher to read. The teacher said they already have a book based on their unit but favorite book week would be next week. Oh well. All the kids stood around the table, said prayer and sat down to eat. The teacher read a story. I kept waiting for the "Happy Birthday" song. Then, as they were walking out the door the teacher said "by the way kids, Riley will be four tomorrow". And that was how the birthday celebration went. I was so sad and disappointed! My daughter was okay, but I still think it's weird that that was how the celebration went. Is it common not to sing Happy Birthday in a preschool class? What is the norm in your preschooler's class?

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So What Happened?

Well, I'm glad to hear that birthdays are still celebrated in most preschools! Things have changed so much since I was growing up that I just never know. I am planning on asking some of the other moms about their child's birthday in my daughter's class. I know in the Pre- K 4 class they do sing happy birthday and give them a birthday pin to wear. As for not reading the book...I have no idea what to think about that one. THat was a suggestion for celebrating a child's birthday at the preschool, but the teacher's had their own plan. The whole thing is odd to me and still disappointing. There are a few other small things that bother me at the school, but the main thing is my daughter comes home safe, clean and always had a good day. Next year I think the teacher she will have is a little more organized and plans things better....I hope anyway.

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answers from Seattle on

At my son's school the birthday child got a special crown to wear all day... the children all sat in a circle and the song "The Earth goes around the sun, the sun, the Earth goes around the sun... 1 year... 52 weeks... 365 days." while the teacher stood in the center with a candle and the birthday child took a globe and walked around the room inside the circle. Every time they came round full circle the kids would shout the right number "year" (1,2,3,4,5,6). Then when it was the "right" number the child would stop... everyone would yell "Happy Birthday!"... and the bday child would get to make a wish and blow out the "sun". Then cupcakes were handed out as they went out to recess. The parent would stay until the end of recess / all the cupcakes were eaten... and the kids would go inside for lunch.

The preschool teacher found it "best" to have an extra recess before lunch to run off the cupcake sugar and then fill up on real food.

It was a really touching and cute ceremony. Children who had their birthdays over breaks either celebrated their 1/2 birthdays... or on a day toward the beginning of the break.

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answers from Philadelphia on

At my kids' preschool, they celebrated the birthdays with a paper crown with the number 4 on it and whatever birthday treat I brought in. Happy Birthday to You was sung and at the end of the year, I got a picture of my child wearing the crown holding up 4 fingers with a big smile on their face. I think they got to be line leader or something, too. Anyway, it was definitely celebrated for about 20 minutes or so. Not too much that distracted the whole class all day, but just enough to make the birthday child feel special. Your daughter's pre-school sounds a bit cold to me...

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answers from Erie on

Ok, I taught preschool, I am even more concerned over the book and the fact that it doesn't seem as if the teacher was listening to your repeated comments at ALL. And i do think I would have a freindly chat with the director, just saying you are feeling a little odd about not feeling the teacher communicated well with you. And just ask if the director had heard any other parents sharing this concern. I'm worried if you make it about the birthday they might brush it off as an over concerned mother, but if you make it about the communication they might listen more. I hope this is coming out the way i mean it.
Birthday's at my school were honored at snack time with singing, we didn't do picts unless the parents sent in a camera. At a different school taht my son attended, we could select a book to buy for the school and they would read it to the class and make a bookplate with his name on it, send it home for a week and then we were to send it back to leave at the school forever so if siblings came through they could "read " it. But no matter what a child brought to school a book, a bug, a photo, a special doll, it should have been acknowledged and in this case Both Books should have been read. Can you ask other parents how the teacher did thier kids bdays??? Maybe there is a Jehovah's witness in the class and the teacher didn't handle it well. As long as your daughter celebrated with you I think you should just hold on to that good experience. oh one more thought check the handbook?? and some school request that you invite ALL the class or NOne of the class to outside parties so there are no hurt feelings.

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answers from Dallas on

i m y kid's school we bring cupcakes and everybody sing happy birthday and then give the kid special pencil

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answers from Dallas on

At the preschool I work at each class does it differently. I prefer low key birthday parties, one it is too much sugar to have sweets for 16 different kiddos within four months, and two we already have so many celebrations throughout the year that it is seriously like we have a party every week. So, on the child's birthday, they get a crown and a Happy Birthday sticker, we sing to him/her. Then once a month we have a birthday celebration to celebrate all the children who had a birthday that month. This has been much better for all involved! It is tough to balance learning, parties, and so forth with young children. The one thing I would be most upset about is the book thing. If that is the tradition so to speak, and it was brushed off, that is weird. Anyway, I will say some of our parties have been really good, some have been just okay--- a lot has to do with how the day is going with the young children and routine, but it does seem weird that the children would eat food you brought with NO mention of why it was brought....hopefully they were just having an off day and unfortunately it feel on her birthday.

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answers from Washington DC on

My son's daycare they would sing Happy Birthday, but otherwise, it was the same. The cookies or cupcakes were the afternoon snack, but no big fanfare. Parents were allowed to bring in goody bags. There were 24 - 30 kids in the class, and let me tell you that there was competition in the goody bags department!!!

My daughter's daycare sings Happy Birthday, and then goodies for snack, but no goody bags. Its all over in like 5m, or however long it takes them to lick the icing and make a big mess!


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answers from Dallas on

Wow C.. I would have been disappointed too!!! We celebrated our daughter's 3rd birthday last month at her preschool and it was fantastic! They gave her a special princess crown to wear to chapel and at chapel they had her come down to the front and the entire school sang happy birthday to her. After chapel, we went back to the classroom and the teacher passed out the cupcakes I had brought and the class sang happy birthday to her again and then they all ate their cupcakes. It was really special and my daughter was beaming the entire time! I would think that the LEAST your child's teacher could have done is have everyone sing "happy birthday". I think if it had been me, I would have said okay, how about singing happy birthday to Riley!
I'm sorry that things didn't go as you had planned today. I am sure your daughter was okay with it, but I'm sure it would have been much more enjoyable for both of y'all had the teacher shown some interest in making it special for Riley!

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answers from New York on

I own and operate a preschool and I am sure each school has their own policies. What we do is encourage parents to bring in something small, like munchkins, or small muffins, we will provide the child with a birthday crown, sing Happy Birthday, and sometimes parents will leave their camera so we can take photo's for them. Some parents have provided a pizza lunch as well. I also discourage goodie bags because some parents just can't afford to reciprocate. I think you should have probably gone to the director so she could have gone over policies with you and made sure they were carried out. I understand that the teacher had a book picked out that went with her theme but I do think she should have made an exception in this case or read both books. I think I would be a little put off myself especially since you had discussed your plans well in advance. The good news is your daughter is okay with it which is the most important thing.

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answers from Houston on

One preschool didn't allow any outside food to be brought in due to allergies so the teacher would acknowledge the birthday in the morning but that was all. Another preschool we used allowed treats but parents would just bring them in that morning and then they would hand them out at snack time. I think they announced the birthday boy or girl to explain the special treats but that's all. In elementary school we're allowed to bring special treats in at lunch time and hand them out but again there's no singing.



answers from Boston on

awww I'm so sorry your child's preschool teacher is such a stick in the mud!

I can tell you in many other preschools it isn't that way. I taught prek up until last year. I made the birthday boy or girl feel very special. In the morning I greeted the birthday child with a special sign, a big sticker for their shirt that said 'Today is my birthday' and greeted them with "Happy Birthday" As a class, the kids signed a big Happy Birthday card. The birthday boy or girl was allowed to be first in line, help with special chores etc. Due to food allergies cupcakes were not allowed and so we had graham crackers with frosting and jimmies on them...weird I know but the kids loved that special treat! During snack the kids would wait til all were served (birthday child helped put out cups and napkins) and then we all sang Happy Birthday.
There is no excuse for what your child's prek teacher did. I would mention something tot he director.



answers from Memphis on

I'm so sorry to hear how disappointing the birthday celebration was! My son turned 4 at preschool this year and they made him feel special the whole day. His teacher sent a bag home 2 days before and he got to fill it up with pictures, favorite toys...anything about him that he wanted to share. I took him lunch from McDonalds and cookies to pass out to his class after they ate. The teachers had made him a crown that he wore all day and he was the special student (line leader and teacher's helper). He loved it! Even my kindergartener (same school) had a similar celebration. I took him his lunch and he chose to pass out doughnuts. He took a book for the teacher to read and filled up a jar with 100 or less pieces of anything he wanted. It's a guessing jar for the kids to learn how to estimate. His birthday is around Easter so he filled it with candy that the teacher divided among the students for them to take home. Anyway, I hope your daughter has a much happier experience next year!

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