Tomorrow begins the last week of our school year. I’m feeling kind of sad today just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong: I am looking forward to sleeping in, reading some great books, spending time with friends, and having a little more “me” time than I’ve had lately, at least until Camp Power begins later in the summer. But I’ve also had a permanent lump in my throat for the past week, and have found myself getting teary-eyed more often than I’d like to admit. Why? Because watching our confident, independent, strong, supportive, and caring students makes me realize just how far these children come in the past 10 months, and just how much I’m going to miss our SKs as they move on to Grade 1 next year. I know that they’re ready, but I’m still sad to see them go.
Looking at our week ahead and thinking about these Senior Kindergarten students also has me thinking about what we share about kids as they move to the next grade. I know that we tell the next teacher about …
- reading levels,
- writing skills,
- math levels,
- and special needs or considerations,
but how do we capture the essence of each child in these short forms?
- Do we tell about the child who can express all of her thoughts and feelings in great detail through her artwork?
- Do we tell about the child that becomes even more motivated to read and write if linked with the topic of fashion?
- Do we tell about the child that really needs the relationship first? Talk about his hockey game last night, his evening with his brother, or his adventures on the weekend. The safety of these discussions will have this child open up to you.
- Do we tell about the child that needs to build confidence before showing just what he can do? Read an easier book first. Praise high. Let him know that you 100% believe in him, and then, offer the more challenging text. He’ll amaze you.
- Do we tell about the child that’s going to need a hug at all of the times that you might not expect? Maybe it’s when he’s loud, or silly, or crying. Offer him a hug, and watch him transform. This connection matters!
- Do we tell about the child that might scream or stomp or cry, but also knows what calms her, and can make these choices independently if just quietly prompted with, “What might make you feel better?”
- Do we tell about the child that might challenge you, but if you embrace this challenge, she will also show you just how much she is able to do?
- Do we tell about the children that might start their day at school really early (possibly even before 7:30), who are still yawning when they come in, eating breakfast around a school table, and interacting with peers that may present some challenges for them? Imagine the impact that this might have on the rest of their day.
- Do we tell about the children that have just spent the past couple of years connecting with one group of peers, and now, might need some additional time to connect with others?
I realize now just how much I didn’t tell, just how much I could have told, and just how much I need to find a way to tell before the year is through. I remember all of the years where the information that I wanted the most was the child’s academic levels. Then I would have a starting point for September. Yes, I still value this information, but watching my teaching partner, Paula, interact with kids makes me realize just how much I missed by not wanting to know more about the children themselves.
- What motivates them?
- What scares them?
- What makes them feel happy, sad, excited, and so many other complicated emotions?
- What calms them?
- What ultimately makes the difference for them?
Maybe it’s knowing this information that will also help us support academic growth. For kids really do need to be calm and alert in order to learn.
I know that this week, we need to say “goodbye” to 11 SK children who mean the world to us. Somehow, I want to help next year’s teacher see everything that we see when it comes to these kids, so that they can love them just as much as we do. While I know that they will, saying, “goodbye,” is never easy to do. How do you deal with this? Here’s to a wonderful last week of school for everyone, and an exciting look towards the future!