In Parents Magazine – “Ages and Stages, Focus on Feelings with Preschoolers” and Ending the School Year Reflections
Focus on Feelings for Preschoolers in Parents Magazine
Hope you’ll check out the June Issue of Parents Magazine. Jennifer Miller of Confident Parents, Confident Kids shares her ideas with author Berit Thorkelson for helping preschoolers learn about and deal with feelings in the “Ages and Stages” section. It’s on newsstands now so check it out!
End of the School Year Reflections
Also, today is the last day of E’s second-grade year. On this final day, our family is feeling sad that the year is over, grateful for such incredible teachers and the caring, joyful learning environment they created and also elated to begin our dive into summer freedom. As your children enter this time of the year, be sure and take a little time to reflect, celebrate and bring closure to the school year they are completing. Here are a few simple ways you can do that:
Work together with your child on a thoughtful card or letter for her teacher.
End of the year gifts or flowers for a teacher are one traditional way to show appreciation. But consider instead of or in addition to a gift, sitting down with your child to write a letter together about what you appreciate about that teacher and the past school year. Talk about it a bit before launching into writing. “What were some of your favorite activities you remember from this year? Why is your teacher so special? Do you remember a time when your teacher was especially kind?” are all questions you might ask before putting words to paper. It will serve as a meaningful gift to the teacher and help your child reflect on her year.
Interview students about their year.
Today on the final day of school, I walked through the line on the playground as students waited to file into school recording video footage while I asked each student what they valued about their second-grade experience. Every response was slightly different. I will be giving a copy of that video to the school as a gift. Start this tradition now and by graduation, you will have an incredible record of not only your child but his entire classes’ growth.
Create a temporary museum using artifacts of learning.
You likely have a pile, a bin or a busting-at-the-seams binder of school work from the past year. Before recycling or stashing away, why not use the accumulated papers as evidence of learning and growth and a tangible way to reflect on that progress? Use your home as a museum. Place the school work in the order of the school year starting in the fall. Line them up across chairs, the couch and on end tables for display. Walk through your gallery as a family and talk about what you notice particularly when you note positive developments. With a little support from you, your kids may be excited to put together the museum themselves. With multiple children, use different rooms of the house and you may have a full academic museum for an evening.
Create a time capsule.
A terrific early summer activity might be to generate a time capsule in memory of this past school year. Work with your child to find and decorate a shoe box or other container and mark with the name of the child and dates of the school year. Now ask your child to consider their older self. What if he came across this time capsule in the attic years later? What items would help him remember the unique attributes of this past school year?
Transitioning into Summer…
Talk about your routine “lite.”
Though you may be eager to relinquish the rigor of the daily school routine, children still thrive with some sense of predictability. So talk about changes in your routine while your family is together. Consider your morning, bedtime and meal times and other transitions in the day. How will things stay the same? How will things change? Having this discussion can help set expectations for the summer and also provide that sense of stability children can thrive on through routines.
Consider instituting quiet time or reading hour.
Sure, you may be gone some days during a typical quiet time. But consider assigning a particular time of day to serve as a quiet time whenever you are around the house. After lunch seems to work well for our family. Turn off devices and media. Haul out blankets and books. You could include snacks. But it should be a time when all in the household “power down” and take it easy. Set the expectation for this at the beginning of summer and kids will assume it’s part of their summer routine.
In Anticipation of the Next Level in the Fall…
Catch a glimpse of next year.
While you are able with school staff still around, wander past next year’s classroom with your child. See if you might catch next year’s teacher in the hallway just to say hello. Perhaps talk with a student who has just ended the next level and ask about highlights from the year. Teachers are likely talking with students about their next step. And your child might be harboring worries about the great unknown ahead. Stepping into the new environment and even making a brief connection with the teacher can go a long way toward allaying fears and preparing for a smooth transition.
Happy end of the school year and beginning of summer!