Children’s development, and kindergarten readiness, happens with whatever kids do. At a birthday party for a 5 year old, several other children connected their voices and sang Happy Birthday. Besides the song, there were other traditions, such as the cake, candles, games, and presents. A birthday party is an exciting event and special occasion, but still somewhat familiar. To children, these events become part of their experiences and form the foundation for lots of growing and learning.
At a birthday party, children learn some important skills for being a member of a group. It might be fairly chaotic, but kids are encouraged to wait their turn, say please and thank you, and be friendly. These are basic social skills that kids will use every day of their lives and are helpful to know when starting kindergarten or preschool. Think of all the talking and the amount of language that will be used as well as kids and adults all interact.
As kids participate in a birthday party, they are picking up the actions that are a part of nearly every birthday. Knowing these gives kids a sense of familiarity and increases their confidence and comfort in group situations. Sharing these experiences with others, is another way of connecting and interacting. Having a circle of friends is important at all ages and stages.
At birthday parties, kids will have a whole range of emotions and feelings. They may be excited and nervous at the same time, both eager and reluctant to participate. Just coping with emotions takes some learning. Birthdays will also create memories, that connect us to ourselves and our own context. Birthdays, like kindergarten, are part of the big picture of life. That’s a lot to celebrate, isn’t it?
P.S. It’s my birthday today. Do I share the date with you?