THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
As the end of the school year approaches, children and teachers are “on the countdown" to the last day of school. Many students are looking forward to summer and two months free of lessons and tests. And yet this may be a bittersweet time for children who will miss teachers and friends. For most kids, the end of the school year means saying lots of good-byes. Some of these are temporary, some more long-lasting. Endings are harder for some children than others.
While children may happily anticipate the summer--and feel relief knowing that the things they didn't like about the year are over--there's still an underlying awareness that life will never be quite the same again. For children who are changing schools, or saying good-bye to friends who are moving, the good-byes may be particularly meaningful.
The many celebrations that mark the end of the school year keep everyone busy with plays, graduations, and stepping-up ceremonies. Families are often preoccupied with end-of-year projects and plans for the summer. The excitement surrounding the end of a school year can sometimes ease the transition but may also distract kids from how it feels to say good-bye. It's important for parents to find ways to acknowledge, and even honor, the year-long bonds that their children formed during the many months of school.
A parent can help with end-of-year good-byes by
1. encouraging kids to talk about their feelings--about what they'll remember and miss.
2. helping your child write down some of the events that marked the year. What your child remembers most vividly may not be the big play or a major field trip, but a funny comment made by a classmate
3. encouraging your child to get addresses of classmates to be able to stay in touch. If possible, take some photos of classmates and teachers--and of the classroom--before displays are dismantled.
Not all kids experience the end of the school year in the same way. Some are totally focused on what's next; they're glad to move on. However, most children need some understanding that in moving on there may be a sense of loss for what was ... and that's okay. Communicate with your child! Acknowledge his or her feelings. Saying good bye is a hard lesson to learn, but you may be there to help your child learn it effectively.