Hard to believe the end of the school year is creeping up on us already, but somehow we’re 75 percent of the way through our year! Looking back, we can all see the amazing growth and learning that has taken place thanks to the amazing classroom and family communities formed during the beginning and middle of the school year, and looking forward, that might feel rather bittersweet for many of us.
For some, it’s just hard to say goodbye to the families and friends you’ve connected with on an almost everyday basis. However, playdates over the summer, and knowing you’ll get the chance to reconnect when Lab School starts again in the fall, brings a sense of comfort. For others, those nervous feelings of, “What’s next?” might be amplified because next year means establishing all new relationships at “Big Kid’s School.”
We want to help your child(ren) learn about and make sense of “What’s next?”, or any new piece of information, by having conversations with them. Some children will speak directly about how they feel about having to leave their friends, some will avoid the conversation altogether, and then there are those that have a lot of feelings and aren’t sure how to put those feelings into words…and I think we all know adults that fall into these categories, as well.
That’s where we, the adults, can help model the language used when having big feelings – especially when it comes to end of the year transitions. I’ve had a number of parents say at our ‘Good Bye’ party, “Oh, I almost started crying…but I didn’t,” or “I’m not going to cry,” and I often wonder, “Why not?” It’s natural and appropriate to feel those feelings of sadness from saying goodbye, mixed with love/gratitude that you feel from your experience at the Lab School.
In these cases, I invite you to model the expression of those feelings for your children – as it will likely lead to a rich and important conversation with your child(ren) about how/why we share our feelings with others. This is emotional modeling – the same as you do with learning colors, shapes, ABCs, 123s – in a real and meaningful context.
Every class does their own version of an “End of the Year” celebration – with the hope of helping children feel, as well as express, those feelings that come with the end of the year. It’s a time to say thank you, we care about you, and we’re so thankful for the time we got to spend together.
Here are a few additional resources that go far deeper into this topic:
- “Transition Time” (The Fred Rogers Company)
- “Transitions to Kindergarten” (NAEYC)
- “Transition to Kindergarten” (Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center)
By Ross Thompson