Saying Good-Bye At the End of a School Year

Posted on June 8, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on Saying Good-Bye At the End of a School Year

The end of a school year brings enthusiastic planning of summer vacations, and also a painful experience of saying good-bye. In early childhood this can be especially difficult because that first teacher was so meaningful and impactful in your child’s life and also in your life. They might have helped your child learn how to navigate potty-ing, learn how to use scissors, eat independently, problem solve with friends. They became an integral part of your life as a parent, as they welcomed your baby each morning and returned a grown, autonomous, thinking, feeling, person to you at noon. These attachments and good feelings endure, but at the time of good-bye the loss can feel profound.

 

So, How do you navigate your feelings and the feelings and experience of your child when it’s time to say good-bye? What follows are a few suggestions.

 

  • Acknowledge and accept your feelings. Be gentle with yourself. This person or these people have become partners to you. This is a big loss. Feel your feelings. Acknowledge your feelings.
  • Don’t assume your feelings are your child’s feelings. Your child will probably have lots of big and scary or sad feelings. AND, they might also be feeling excited and ready to move on to the next class. Try to see all of their experience and share in their excitement. All of the feelings are relevant.
  • Make a scrapbook with your child about the year. It will be nice to remember together how the year began and all of the things that happened to bring you to this day. Did they grow? Did they learn new words? New skills? Make new friends? The scrapbook will be a nice way to reflect on the year and prepare for the new year over the summer.
  • Write a thank you note to your teachers. Let your child dictate some memorable events from the year that they would like to include. You can include your own memories as well.
  • Write an introduction letter to your new teachers. Have your child dictate some favorite activities, favorite foods, stories about a pet. This is a great way to start thinking about new beginnings and new relationships.
  • Think of a way to mark the milestone at home. This will be the first of many stepping up moments, what tradition can you begin that can be ritualized each year?

 

This is a big and important moment for your family and for your child. Congratulations on a successful year of pre-school! Don’t be afraid to ask for as many hugs as you need.