Celebration Day for Girls

Give her a great day to learn about her body

A Celebration Day for Girls is a warm, fun and reassuring workshop for 10- to 12-year-old girls and their mothers to support you both as you navigate the changes of puberty and early menstrual cycling together. The day blends creative, fun activities with practical tips for body literacy, storytelling and relaxed conversations. We want to empower girls to have ease and trust in their changing bodies, so they can be happier and more resilient and focus on the things they love to do.

Groups are kept small so we can attend to individual needs.

What happens at a Celebration Day for Girls?

The program is delivered on two dates.

1: Session for mothers/carers (2 hrs)

Prior to the full-day workshop, this is for you to find out more and check in with what you’d like for your daughter/special girl, both in the workshop and as she matures. Often held during the week before your Celebration Day, you’ll meet your facilitator and learn about what we cover on the Day. We provide space for you to reflect on how things are going for your daughter, and look back on your own experience of puberty, including who or what inspired you.

2: Full day for girls, women join at lunch (6 hrs)

Girls are dropped off in the morning. You then return at just before lunch, for the remainder of the day.

Your daughter gets a fun start to the day with other girls, where they do craft and other activities while hearing stories and learning about the changes their body will go through. This includes understanding the menstrual cycle and how to make the most of changes in energy and mood. Girls can also ask anonymous questions about any sensitive topics they may have.

Then, after the women arrive at lunchtime, your daughter has an afternoon with you! We share lunch, and in the afternoon we have women’s stories, so girls can hear about inspiring women you’ve known, the variety in different women’s experiences and the common thread of living with a menstrual cycle as normal and natural part of life. After several delightful affirming and bonding activities we finish with a simple ceremony to wish girls well on their journey to maturity.

Mother and 10-year-old daughter hugging, with daughter looking up at mother and smiling

Frequently Asked Questions

I have explained all about periods to my daughter so will she get anything out of the Celebration Day?

As her mother you will remain her main source of information and guidance and in this your relationship with her is invaluable.  A Celebration Day for Girls will build on the understanding each girl may already have and includes activities designed to strengthen an open connection between mother and daughter.  The benefit of celebrating in a group is the experience that each girl and her mother bring to the day and as well as the unfolding group experience.  The freedom to discuss periods with their peers in a safe and comfortable space helps to normalise periods for girls. Similarly hearing a variety of women’s stories adds to the richness of girls’ understanding.  The celebratory aspect of the Day helps confirm for each girl that her experience of menarche is both entirely normal and one that is shared with all women, but equally, uniquely special.  Many girls who have experienced a Celebration Day for Girls go on to share their experience of menarche with their friends and have gained insight into ways they can best care for themselves and support their peers.  All in all A Celebration Day paves the way for a rich, positive and connected ongoing experience.

My daughter has started her period can she still come to the Celebration Day?

Yes!  Of course!  She is very welcome. Every girl is individual and comes to menarche according to her own body’s timing.  In previous workshops we have had some girls who have started their periods and many who haven’t. While she has experienced her menarche, your daughter may now have some new questions about puberty and menstruation and will benefit from the multi-faceted approach of the Celebration Day. She may also like to share something of her experience with the other girls. That said we have utmost respect for each girl’s privacy and at no time do we ask that they share any of their personal experiences. 

In contrast to a reluctance in schools and our culture generally to speak openly and often about menstruation at the Celebration Day for Girls we aim to provide a creative, informed and fun day that supports a healthy, curious and open approach to this important and pervasive feminine experience.

I have had a very difficult time with my periods so it’s really hard to think of anything positive to say to my daughter. However I do want her to have a better time of it than me. Will the Celebration Day for Girls help?

Most definitely.  An important, and perhaps unspoken, part of the Celebration Day for Girls is that mothers have the opportunity to re-dream a little of their own menarche and menstrual story as they gather with their daughters to celebrate.  Many of us, partly because of cultural silence or even hostility to aspects of women’s bodies, along with inherited physical traits, have experienced a painful time with our periods, both emotionally and physically.

In the Mother’s Session before the Celebration Day you will have an opportunity to express some of your own feelings about your experience of menstruation.  Women have often found this sharing to be revelatory and insightful, both by sharing their own and hearing those of other women, and offers a path to a fresh new relationship with their menstrual cycle and female body. (Please note that while women generally find this valuable there is no compulsion at the Mother’s Session or the Celebration Day for Girls to share personal experiences.)

Dr. Christiane Northrup, in her book Mother-Daughter Wisdom, says, “The mother-daughter relationship is the foundation of every woman’s health.  It has more clout biologically, emotionally and psychologically than any other relationship in a woman’s life.” If you have had a difficult time with your periods you may not want to scare your daughter with graphic descriptions and the key to your support for her at this time is genuine communication and connection. You may like to share with her some of your experience in an age appropriate way as well as speak with her about how you want it to be for her. Allow ample time to hear her questions, ideas and concerns. The Celebration Day for Girls will gently and smoothly support this communication between you.

A Celebration Day for Girls creates a space where girls can feel good about their journey toward inhabiting a woman’s body. As your daughter sits with friends (new or old) and a skilled facilitator she will imbibe a sense that she can experience menstruation each month in a positive way, and that, if she has discomfort or other menstrual problems she can get the support she needs.

The Celebration Day for Girls facilitators have each undergone their own personal journeys with menstruation and have dedicated themselves to the rich practice of menstrual cycle awareness. Through this process they have become passionate educators in this field.

What should I say to my daughter about the workshop?

There is no need to specially prepare her or say very much. You could lean on the title of the day and say, ‘it’s a special day for celebrating being a girl’. You could say, ‘it’s about puberty and growing up’. Or you could say, ‘it’s a fun and beautiful day, filled with lots of activities that you’ll find really interesting’. For some girls knowing this much is exciting and they can’t wait, and others may feel embarrassed at the thought of anyone talking about puberty and periods. We are familiar with and respect all the feelings that may arise for girls and find that within a short time girls are relaxed and enjoying the day’s activities and conversations.

If your daughter has any anxiety about the day you can reassure her that at no time will she be asked to share anything about her personal experiences and changes.

My daughter knows very little about periods and reproduction. Will that be a problem for her on the day?

Not at all, this is a perfect opportunity for her to come along and find out more. A Celebration Day for Girls is designed to meet the needs of all girls regardless of their prior knowledge and understanding of the reproductive workings of their body.  Information is delivered in a clear but gentle manner, and a sense of respect and wonder is engendered in how our bodies work and mature.  A range of materials and activities are used to engage girls and create a comfortable, interactive and fun day.  An aim of the Day is to normalise menarche and menstruation for girls, and celebrate it in a way that encourages an ongoing positive relationship with their reproductive health.

Facilitators are well trained and provide relevant, factual information and girls can ask questions in a relaxed, supportive environment. There is also an opportunity for girls to write down anonymous ‘curly’ or ‘embarrassing’ questions.

What do you do during the Celebration Day?

During the Celebration Day we incorporate many different activities and conversations in order to honour a variety of learning styles, all of which weave into the themes for the day. These include: art and craft, mothers telling stories about their growing up experiences, fun activities and stories from a variety of cultures, conversational cards processes, sharing and building on our knowledge and understanding of puberty and the menstrual cycle in creative and affirmative ways, exploring practicalities of managing menstruation at school, at home and when we’re away from home, simple celebration and much, much more!

We don’t want to give too many more details about the day to help preserve an element of surprise for girls, however if you would like to know more specifics please feel free to contact us, either the facilitator closest to you or via our general contact details.

What do you talk about during the Celebration Day?

As the experiences of puberty and menstruation are not only physical, but also emotional, social, cultural, and for many spiritual, we have a wide variety of conversations during the Celebration Day which weave in and out of the day’s activities. These include:

  • Seasons and cycles of life
  • Exploring stories and practices from different times and cultures for a healthy dose of cultural relativism
  • Practical ways to manage menstruation at school, at home and elsewhere
  • The physiology and biochemistry of the menstrual cycle, hormones, menstrual blood (how much, what is it? and so on)
  • Pads and tampons, disposable and reusable pads, cups and underwear
  • Puberty, body changes and emotions
  • Feelings about starting to menstruate
  • Mother’s menarche stories
  • Girls and women supporting each other
  • And more depending on girls’ questions, concerns and curiosity.

Does the adult who comes with a girl have to be her mother?

No. While mothers clearly have a key role for their daughters during puberty and as they begin to menstruate it is not always possible for them to accompany their daughter to A Celebration Day for Girls. In this case a grandmother, aunt, close family friend or carer can step in and share the Celebration Day with their special girl.

What if a girl lives with her Dad? Can he bring her to a Celebration Day for Girls?

We honour the special role fathers have in their daughter’s life and the importance of their support during puberty and adolescence and A Celebration Day for Girls is a female only event. If you are a father raising your daughter on your own you may like to speak with your daughter about who she would like to have accompany her, or speak with a female relative or friend who can then invite your girl to A Celebration Day for Girls. Either way this will be a special event for her and she can tell you all about it when she comes home (or not).

We have a program especially for fathers called Fathers Celebrating Daughters. At this program you can join with other men and one of our experienced facilitators to learn more about how best to support, and nurture your daughter’s healthy development through puberty and adolescence. All while maintaining your uniquely important connection with her.

You may also like to have a look through the affiliation links (bottom right) for resources that will support you and your daughter at this time.

Should I let my daughter decide if she wants to come to the workshop or just say we’re going?

For some girls it is difficult to imagine what could be fun about spending a day focused on puberty and menstruation and for others the idea is intriguing. In our experience all girls of this age group have a fun day, with this firm foundation spreading benefits well into their future. We have found that even the most reluctant girls relax and settle within a short time and all leave with a new confidence and comfort with themselves and their changing bodies, as well as a great mutually-supportive ‘womanly’ bond with their mother or female carer.

Many mothers present the Celebration Day for Girls as a non-negotiable event and others prefer to ask their daughter if she wants to attend. In some situations the Celebration Day is a class curriculum event. Whatever your situation you are welcome to talk this through with your facilitator. 

“My daughter was full of enthusiasm and confidence the evening after the workshop and was desperate to remember and tell every little detail that she had experienced  … a great change from the apprehensive daughter I dropped off in the morning.”   Ingrid

How long is the Celebration Day?

The Celebration Day for Girls is generally 10 am to 4pm, with morning tea and lunch breaks. These times may vary if an earlier or later start suits a particular group better. The first two sessions of the day – 10-11.30am and 12-1.15pm – are for girls only and mothers join in at 1.15 for the remainder of the day.

The two-hour mother’s session prior to the Celebration Day is scheduled somewhere between two weeks and one day before the day, depending on when is most convenient for the group and facilitator.

Can we have a Celebration Day for Girls just for the girls in my daughter’s class?

Yes, absolutely. Facilitators frequently hold ‘private’ Celebration Days for class and friendship groups as well as Celebration Days which are open to girls from different schools and localities. For a class group the Celebration Day can be a wonderful shared experience as they begin to traverse this special time of life together. The Celebration Day can strengthen the bond between girls who already know each other, and is a unique opportunity for them to explore these topics in a fun and safely held way. Often we have girls’ female teachers join us for the afternoon session with mothers and daughters.

From experience ‘public’ Celebration Days often do have girls who know each other or are related, however this isn’t necessary and our facilitators are skilled at creating a warm, safe and connected space for the day. In this case girls are frequently excited about sharing their experience of the day with their sisters, friends and schoolmates, as well as vowing to stay in touch with their new friends from the Celebration Day.

How much does the workshop cost?

The fee per girl (that is girl-mother pair) to attend a Celebration Day for Girls is consistent within each country and is reviewed periodically. There may be an additional fee if the facilitator needs to fly or pay for accommodation to run your day or if venue fees are high.

We are keen for this program to be affordable for families and have priced it moderately, furthermore concessions are available for those that need them.

In Australia, the fee per girl is $165 (as at July 2020). For other countries please contact a local facilitator or the one nearest to you. Please note that workshop prices are reviewed periodically and may change.

This topic is covered within my daughter’s school curriculum why would I consider bringing her to a Celebration Day as well?

While some form of ‘health and human development’ curriculum is available in most schools and is likely to cover the rudiments of reproduction and the menstrual cycle this is a far removed from the intent and content of A Celebration Day for Girls.

A Celebration Day for Girls can add many unique and special elements even if your daughter has already had numerous school sessions on puberty. These include: the opportunity for relaxed and spacious conversation and questions, a whole girls-only day, a sense of the wonder, beauty and interconnectedness of nature in contrast to a mechanical ‘plumbing’ approach, conversation and connection between girls and girls and their mothers and, not least, fun and celebration!

Research with older teens found that the most valuable input for girls around the time of their first period is emotional support, with practical understanding and information about reproductive biology running distant second and third. With this awareness we focus on connection, normalisation, safety and comfort.

A Celebration Day for Girls can’t really be a celebration of my daughter’s menarche as we don’t know when that will be. So what exactly are we celebrating?

Absolutely right. The exact timing of your daughter’s menarche is unknown, unless it’s already happened of course. During a Celebration Day for Girls we are celebrating being a girl, and the wonders of our female bodies. For many girls the day acts as an awakening to a new awareness of the importance of, and pride in, these changes and her emerging womanly body.

The celebration is also a beautiful bonding for mothers and daughters around their own shared and age-specific experiences. At the end of the day participants may express what the celebration has been for them in slightly different ways, however the feedback we receive is that everyone is nourished, warmed and energised by the experience.

Is CDG inclusive of young people with diverse gender identities?

This is a sensitive and complex question. Rather than make a general statement here that may not be useful in your circumstances, please contact your local facilitator to discuss your situation and questions.