Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. Dr. Suess
One of the many indicators that the school year is almost finished is the Twin Parks Montessori School’s end of the school year picnics. Parents and children get together with their teachers and administrators to end the year with a whole school event. We all talk about how quickly the school year has passed. The picnic marks the end of another happy year together, learning and growing together.
Around this time, parents ask “why is my child regressing and misbehaving?” Teachers wonder why others around them are short on patience. Administration wonder why paper work is taking longer to complete. Even though we are all looking forward to summer, it means change – in routines, in people we see on a daily basis, and expectations. Young children have a limited sense of telling time and they depend on the predictability of the school day events to assist them. That schedule is usually gone when the school year ends and it is worrisome and confusing for our children.
You see the change in behavior at home and we see it at school. Children who are going on to elementary school become despondent at the realization that their preschool days are over and they won’t be returning to their beloved school. For many, this is the only away-from-home environment they have experienced.
Remember that most of our children operate in the moment. Adults plan months ahead. Parents are already planning on the next school year all of which can cause anxiety in children. Children are not always comfortable saying goodbye or with expressing their feelings of loss. Younger children do not know how long the goodbye will last. They are attached to their teachers and school friends and will miss them very much.
Teachers are notorious for trying to cram in so many new activities, field trips and special events that they forget to take care of themselves. They have a classroom of feeling beings in their care to be aware of and comfort. We need to remember to check on teachers’ emotions and experiences at the end of the school year.
It is best to keep our parent feelings inside even though the loss is big for us, too. Instead of talking about the next year – so far in the future, talk about one thing you will do over the summer. Keep future school plans simple and talk of them not too often. Check on each other, adults as well as children to make sure everyone is ok. We will all miss each other when the school year ends.