Many Montessori schools do something special to mark the transition between age groups or levels. The importance of the transition ages is something that Dr. Montessori developed to group children into mixed age settings, while staying within their own levels of development. Her original age levels have withstood the test of time and are still used in Montessori classrooms worldwide.
The idea of a mixed age classroom was modeled after the family where children learn from those above and below themselves. Montessori also saw the mixed age classroom in a three year cycle as a way to give children practice at being the bottom, the middle, and the top. Although in the home we obviously don't switch birth orders around, the idea of learning from those around us still applies!
What doesn't exist in the home is a marked point where we change teachers or classrooms as we grow. Aidan is aware of the bridging ceremony done at Tim's school to mark this transition and felt strongly that he would like to have a similar ceremony at home. (1st grade is the first transition point) One of the best parts of homeschooling (in my opinion) is being able to create our own traditions.
The ceremony we came up with involved having Grandparent's over for a short ceremony and then lunch. As Aidan's 'teacher', I said a few words about bridging and why we were doing it. Then he walked across our bridge.
Once he got to the other side he shook Daddy's hand (his idea...Tim tried a hug and was relegated to a hand shake). Then he was given a plant from Grandma & Papa to plant in our garden.
We came inside and had lunch together (Aidan's menu consisted mainly of mac & cheese with hot dogs) and he had a small gift from his Grandma Debby (a small cloth globe). After we ate, Aidan gave everyone a tour of our school room.
All in all, it was a really fun little ceremony! I was unsure about doing it at first, but Aidan knows its not an every year event and we did manage to keep it simple. The next 'bridge' in our family will be Caleb from K to 1st and Aidan from 3rd to 4th. Depending on how things line up that may happen the same year (we're being fairly loose with grade levels because all of our kids have birthdays either right before or soon after the Sept. 1st cutoff date).
If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to check out my Montessori giveaway!