I was looking at Chapter 8 of Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer. We have been discussing this wonderful book all year in my Parent Child classes. She covers four topics in that chapter, all of them interesting—clothing, nightmares, speaking with children about death, and choosing childcare. As I was reading, I was thinking about what a difficult subject death is for many of us to speak about, especially with children. That made me think of the birthday story that I told in the nursery class for many years. We speak to the children of their journey from the spiritual world—from the stars. We can speak of this journey when a loved one leaves this life behind, as well. I will add some photos later, but thought I might as well post this now.
Every Waldorf early childhood teacher tells his or her own version of the birthday story. Here is mine. I tell it with my star covered story apron. I make the birthday baby as I tell the story, although I make the finished one ahead of time to pull out at the right moment. I also have an angel puppet who helps to tell the story. Here is mine—I have added footnotes to include some variations—the story is adapted depending on things like the child’s family constellation, where they were born and the season they were born in:
By Susan Bruck
The stars are watching when for a birth,
A little child comes down to earth.
Her angel leads her both day and night,
To fill her heart with love and light.
Once, not so very long ago, way up in the heavens, there lived a star child. She lived there with the other star children, who were her friends, and together they would visit the sun, the moon and the planets. She had a special angel who watched over her always. She was very happy up there in the stars. One night, as she was sitting all snuggled up with her angel and they were looking out at the thousands of sparkling stars, the star child saw something that she had not seen before. It was a planet, and it was blue and green and most lovely to behold.
“What is that place?” she asked her angel.
“That is the planet earth,” the angel replied. “Come, I will show you.”
And together they went to visit the earth. When they got there, they saw great oceans and mountains. They saw forests and winding rivers. They saw birds flying in the sky and animals walking on the face of the earth. The earth was so beautiful. There were flowers blooming everywhere, and the baby birds were hatching out of their eggs while their mothers and fathers sang joyous songs. They saw many children running and laughing in the meadows, splashing in puddles and gathering dandelions and violets that they put in each others’ hair.
The star child and the angel continued their journey and soon they came to a large city next to a big lake. Here there were many people working and playing. Among them the star child saw a kind man and a loving woman, and she felt something stir within her.
“I would like to come here,” said the star child.
“And so you shall,” said the angel, “But first you must rest. While you rest, I will weave you a garment, for when you leave here, you must leave your heavenly garments behind.”
Song: Sleep my little star child,
Sleep the long night through,
While you sleep I will weave a
Garment of light for you.
And so the child slept for many days and weeks and months. When she woke up, the angel said, “Now it is time. Put on the garment I have made for you.”
The child put the garment on. The angel led her to a bridge made of all the colors of the rainbow.
The angel said, “Take courage.”
And the child walked across the bridge.
In heaven shines a golden star,
An angel brought me from afar,
From heaven high unto the earth,
And brought me to my house of birth.
And soon the child saw once more the kind man and the loving woman, and the woman held the child close to her heart. The child looked into the loving faces of her father and mother, and heard them say, “We shall call her Grace, and she is the best gift of all.
Welcome, welcome lovely day,
With flowers bright and sunshine gay,
And painted birds who sing their songs,
And make me kind and good and strong.
And so, dear children, Grace came to join us on this earth, and we are so glad you are here.
Here is a nice verse to use on the night before a child’s birthday (I’m not sure who wrote it):
When I have said my evening prayers,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And my mother and father kiss me good night,
I will be __ years old tonight.
But before the break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow I will be __years old.
__ kisses when I wake,
__candles on my cake.
 If telling this story for a boy, I would, of course, substitute he/him as needed. In the case of twins, I would say that there were 2 star children who loved each other very much and were always together and adjust the story accordingly.
 Here I describe something for the time of year the child was born in. This example would be for the spring. This part changes with the seasons.
 I tell this story in Chicago. When the children were born elsewhere, I change the description to include one or two details about the place where they were born.
 This part can, of course be modified if a child has only one parent of if she has two parents of the same sex. I also mention older siblings here, if there are any—not by name, just a little boy or girl, or whoever.
 Here, the angel tucks the child into one of the stars on the apron, but if I was telling it without puppets, I would just describe how the angel tucked the child into a cozy bed to rest and gathered the materials for the garment.
 If I am telling without puppets, I would add “embraced her and..”
 If the child is adopted, I add a line here—“The child’s journey was long, and there were many people who helped her along the way, until she saw once more the kind man….
 Use your own child’s name