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Half Birthdays
Save the Day

by Jenny Franklin

We all remember those magical Elementary School days when someoneís mom would show up with trays of cupcakes and brownies, or everyone would bring in some delicious treat, there would be soda and lunch in the classroom, and the day would be filled with general, teacher-approved chaos.

Birthday party days were the best days, but for some kids who were unfortunate enough to be born in that window of summer, the day to abandon work in their honor never came. Oh, sure, they would get a party that took the whole afternoon, or a trip to a waterpark since school was no obstacle, but it isnít quite the same. They longed to see the teacher put that chalk away because today, we celebrate their birthday!

I know this so well because my younger sister was born in July, and when she was very young she felt left out from the in-school festivities. She and the other summer kids would have to spend several nights each year baking treats with their parents to celebrate someone else, and it was hard to forget that their classmates would never be asked to do the same for them.

                  Half Birthday Parties Half-birthday parties offer the perfect solution to this problem, ensuring that no child is left birthday-less for the duration of the school year. As I recall, some teachers tried to work around this issue by having group parties organized by month, but even really young kids know theyíre losing several of their days of fun that way, and they were always outraged. On top of almost inspiring revolution, this method requires some real work to figure out where to distribute the parties, and where to cram all the summer kids into the schedule.

Instead of trying to create some elaborate calendar of evenly distributed, evenly shared parties, our Second Grade teacher cleverly celebrated half birthdays. She was, of course, one of the most beloved teachers at our elementary school, because she demonstrated in this way that each of her students had equal value, and she was determined not to leave anyone out.

Unfortunately for my sister, her birthday is July 1st, making her half-birthday January 1st. Obviously, they were not in school for either of those days, and that wonderful teacher, who never let anyone go unnoticed felt awful that she was left out. They threw an extra-special belated half-birthday party to make up for it, and the teacher was careful to figure out in advance which days should be celebrated so that the mistake never happened in the future.

School birthday parties serve two important functions, and neither should be overlooked. From the kidsí perspective, they offer a much-needed excuse to avoid a little work at school and to bond with their friends over treats and juice boxes. What parents and teachers should remember is that it is important to take time out of one day in the school year to honor each child as special and unique, to celebrate the mere existence of all of those amazing young people in the same room. And half-birthdays are the best way to ensure that we arenít celebrating half of the kids in a classroom and hoping in vain that the other half donít notice.

Jenny Franklin is a mother and a party planner. She currently writes freelance for the girls' birthday party supplier Party Pail. 

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