The Importance of Ending The School Year Well

As the school year begins to wind down, this is an excellent blog from our friends at Parent Cue.

The Importance of Ending the School Year Well

This time of year, backpacks are getting heavy. Patience is wearing thin. The end of the school year is upon us and so is the end of what feels like the craziest one in history! As the school year comes to a close, most of us simply want to fast-forward through the days until we see the glorious summer sun.

However, after a school year like the one we’ve had, we owe it to our kids to finish the year strong. To teach our kids the importance of ending the school year well, there are a few things we can do to make the most of the year we’ve had.

Give your kids opportunities to reflect on the year.

One of the greatest ways for your child to process the ups and downs of this year is through reflection. This will not only help them sort out any unaddressed emotions but will also help them grow.

  • Cheers and Challenges Night
    To start the conversation, having a “Cheers and Challenges” night to share any positive or difficult memories is an easy way for kids to reflect. Feel free to share your own cheers and challenges too! When kids see and hear you reflecting, it will help them phrase their own emotions.
  • Growth Goals
    When reflecting, it’s normal for kids to recall some areas that are still challenging for them. For example, if your child mentions they’re struggling in math, you can help him or her create a growth goal and display it somewhere in your home. Have them decorate an index card with their goal and check in with them throughout the summer on their progress.

Make your priority memories, not proficiency.

A canvas hangs behind my classroom desk with a quote that says, “Children only have one childhood.” I put it there to remind myself that proficiency is not the most important thing in my class. And it shouldn’t be the most important thing about this school year either.

In a time when gaps in learning is all anyone can talk about, let’s choose to remember our kids’ childhood. One that they’re living in a pandemic. While there will be dozens of opportunities for your child to grasp the academic content, the time for making memories in this school year is soon ending. Don’t let the threat of proficiency devour your sense of time with your kid as the school year comes to a close.

To maximize on memories in the last few weeks of the school year, try out some of these fun end-of-year activities:

  • Brainstorm a summer bucket list as a family
  • Have a s’mores night and share some favorite memories of the school year outside
  • In-person learners: Send in something that the whole class can enjoy together to create some end-of-the-year memories! For example, consider sending in a few double-dutch jump ropes for a class competition, popsicle sticks and stickers to create memory frames, or some new board games or card games to play.
  • At-home learners: Give your child freedom to change things up in their digital learning space. Allow them to rearrange their room or working area. Perhaps buy some stickers or a new case for their device. Anything to bring some creativity to the end of the year!

Love on your child’s teacher.

Never before has your child’s teacher longed for a “thank you” more than this year! While everyone has a different love language, most teachers just want to feel recognized and appreciated for their hard work. Kids can do this through a personalized note sharing a special memory from the year, a thoughtful gift, or a yummy treat.

Parents, after a school year like this, I know how tempting it can be to rush through its final days. But to finish the year strongly, we must slow it down by remaining fully in the present moment. In an instant, these days will be behind us, and our kids will be in the next grade. But for now . . . remember how precious these final days are and know that the school year is almost finished.

Let’s end it well!

This article first appeared here.

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Rebecca Brown

Rebecca is a writer, blogger, and elementary school teacher from the Metro-Atlanta area.

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