Ending the School Year with Grace and Courtesy
Now that the weather is warmer, children and teachers’ thoughts turn to the less structured days of summer. While most children are excited, others may feel uncertain about the changes summer brings.
Wise teachers know that this transition can be as challenging as the start of a school year. School may be a secure place, in contrast to home—where a child’s routine may be inconsistent, meals are not be on a schedule, and they may not have a consistent reliable adult responsible for them. Other children may worry about leaving friends at the end of the year, making new friends in September, or the challenge of adjusting to a new teacher.
Even the many school events in May—field trips, assemblies, and parties marking the close of the year—can be upsetting for children who rely on schedules throughout the year. This stress can cause children to act out in unexpected ways.
Teachers can help children transition smoothly into the summer month by anticipating these issues. As much as possible, stick to a routine in the classroom. When special events are planned, take time to talk with the children several days in advance. Reinforce expected behaviors and remind children of the things they will need to manage such as lunches, money for trips, staying with a chaperone. Role play common field trip situations to help students know what to do should something go wrong.
To build students’ confidence, be sure to review their goals for the year and celebrate their accomplishments. Children might write letters to their next teacher telling about themselves and their interests. Talk with them about making new friends in their new classroom and role play how that first day of school might go.
Help the children recall the highlights of their time as a classroom community. They might make a year-end “remember when” book of things like the funniest moment, something they are proud of, something they enjoyed. Use this link to the Responsive Classroom website for more ideas to wrap up your year https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/category/category/last-weeks-school .
Want to learn more about creating a Responsive Classroom? The Professional Development Center for Educators (PDCE) is developing a network of teachers and school leaders across Delaware who are implementing the Responsive Classroom Approach in their classrooms. We provide onsite workshops focusing on Responsive Classroom kits including Engaging Teacher Language, Discipline in Schools, and Morning Meeting. We provide support and coaching for teachers using the strategies in these kits. Currently, we are planning to offer the following Responsive Classroom workshops this summer led by trained Responsive Classroom facilitators:
- Discipline in Schools – July 13 – 17
- Responsive Classroom Course 4 day workshop – June 16-19 OR July 7-10
Watch your e-mails and check our PDCE website http://www.pdce.udel.edu/ for more information about summer workshops to assist you in supporting the social curriculum in your classroom and school community.
Linda Zankowsky, Ed.D.
Associate Director, PDCE