It is hard to believe we have reached the end of the academic year!
Schools are now working extremely hard to prepare children for either starting in reception, going up to the next year group, or moving on to their next school.
It is always such an exciting time as there is much to celebrate, but it can also often be quite a challenge, as there is a lot to get ready for.
For parents, these are often the moments when we begin to really feel how quickly our children are growing up and moving onto the next stage. We feel a real need to treasure this time with our children and prepare them for their next steps in both education and life. The end of the academic year and the beginning of the holidays always have that bittersweet element that can stir so many emotions.
The children can celebrate all the things they have achieved and enjoyed, but they may also feel some trepidation. They may be a little uncertain about what the next year will hold. Will they manage the work? Will they still be with their close friends, and will they make new ones? What will their new teacher/teachers be like?
Here are some ideas to help you with changes, endings and new beginnings:
- For young children going to a new school, it can be useful for them to practise the journey to and from their new school before they start, and to take a look around the area surrounding their new school. This will really help to make them feel more comfortable and confident when they start.
- Young children also love to spend a bit of time wearing their new uniform! It can make them feel excited, and encourage them to look forward to the new start they are about to make.
- Help older children to celebrate what they have achieved. Get them to look at this in the broadest way: learning, friendships, effort, sporting achievements, creative accomplishments, perseverance, challenges overcome…
- If they want to talk through worries about the year that is passing or the year ahead of them, then encourage them to express their feelings. You do not need to solve everything: just be there for them.
- Encourage them to thank the people who have helped them this year. It will be good for them and good for the very hard-working staff in school too!
- Find out as much as possible about the class or school they are moving on to. In the summer, children can feel that they do not belong either in the year they have left or the year they are moving into. Use all the information the school provides: schools generally have excellent websites and you can use these to help your child really get to know the place they are going to.
- The summer is also a time for your child to relax and recharge for the year ahead: encourage them to do the things they enjoy and develop their interests.
- Remember that reading is one of the most important parts of education. Read with them and to them during the summer – whatever age they are! Older children will still love you to read to them: choose something you will both enjoy and have a go!
Look after yourself as well, and remind yourself that it is fine to feel nostalgic as your child grows up, but you should look forward with excitement to the next stage too!
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