The last few weeks of classes at The International Preschools are exciting for our students. Teachers and children begin play-based learning activities to celebrate the end of the school year: classroom parties with parents, end-of-the-year gifts, and memory books.
But after the festivities have concluded, what’s next? The “what’s next,” for some children, can be filled with uncertainty, sadness, or fear. Sometimes, these feelings can result in regressing behaviors, such as difficulty separating from parents or caregivers. This is an opportunity for children to develop life-strategies for transitioning between one set of routines towards another exciting phase in their lives.
The process actually begins in September when teachers spend time helping students acclimate to the routines and expectations of the classroom. This action is crucial in helping the children feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings; toddlers and preschool-age children crave stability in their day-to-day schedules, thriving most when they know “what comes next.” Providing consistency is key to helping children feel safe, secure, and confident.
By May, when children feel confident in their classrooms, teachers are able to focus on the passage from school to summer. In many classrooms, a “Baby Show and Share” is introduced. Students are encouraged to bring in their baby clothing or baby photos to present to their classmates. This activity allows children to see how much they have grown, learned, and changed over the course of a few years (and for some classes, a few months!). Developmentally, young children do not grasp the passage of time as adults do; for them, the next school year is too abstract a concept. The idea of summer (and swimming, camp, and playgrounds) is an exciting, happy image to focus on when preparing to leave a familiar classroom. All of these things help transitions feel less overwhelming and more naturally a part of their growth.
All of our classrooms celebrate the end of school with parent/child celebrations filled with songs, food, and fun. The children are always encouraged to come back and visit their teachers, and to have play dates with their friends over the summer (and beyond).
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