While most parents spend considerable time preparing for the beginning of the school year, not much thought is given to the end of the year. For the most part, both parents and children are simply thankful to have survived another school year!
However, helping children wrap up the year on a positive note, and encouraging them to reflect on what they have gained – knowledge, friends, skills – will leave them with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
For example, if your child struggled in a particular area at the start of the year, the last school term offers a good opportunity to celebrate how far he has come. You can also talk about what was easy and what was hard, what was enjoyable and what wasn’t, and which part of learning was fun and exciting!
Here are a few suggestions for ending the year on a high note:
- Celebrate: Help your child create a list of things that he is proud of. Consider what it took to achieve these successes, and encourage him to keep working hard to achieve his goals.
- Say thanks: Let your child write a note to his teacher/s. While they may have had some ups and downs during the year, writing a sincere note of gratitude to a teacher is a meaningful way to end the school year.
- Stay in touch: Encourage your child to make plans during the final term to stay in touch with his friends over the holidays. This will help maintain the strength of the relationships he worked so hard to build during the year.
Unfortunately, the end of the school year is also accompanied by certain losses. While saying goodbye is never easy, school goodbyes provide (repeated) opportunities to help children acknowledge and express loss, which is vital for their emotional development.
The end of primary school, in particular, marks a major shift in a child’s life and can be both exciting and terrifying. Your child will have to say goodbye to teachers who made a lasting impression, but more importantly, he will have to say goodbye to friends who may be going to a different high school.
As peer relationships have become quite important by this point in a child’s life, this transition may be particularly difficult for children to deal with. Allow your child to reflect on what he will miss, but also talk about the benefits of moving on. Support your child by keeping conversations about his feelings – both positive and negative – open.
So, as the last day of school approaches, try not to get too caught up the end of the year rush! Make time for your child to reflect on the year’s achievements, experiences and feelings.
Impak is a curriculum provider for home, tutor and school education. Visit www.impak.co.za for more information.