The Last Day of Kindergarten

Saturday, 23 June 2018


the last day of kindergarten

My worst, last day ever was the first year I taught kindergarten.  It was half-day and my kiddos were taking a different bus home than usual because they were riding with the whole school.  We made tags for the children to wear to avoid any mix-ups.

At the very last minute, my assistant realized that we had listed the wrong numbers -eeeeeeek! Busses were starting to be called and we were frantically trying to get kids on the right busses.  I remember grabbing nearby adults from the hallway to help us through the chaos!

By some miracle they all found their way, but all the crazy that went down in those last minutes left me in tears about how things had ended.

I've since learned a few things about "last days," to make them run more smoothly and to provide the closure that a year together deserves.  Here's a few ideas to help you as you plan your last day:

Reflection

Provide some time for children to reflect on the past year. Try placing their name cards in a bag and as you choose one, invite them to share their favorite memory or part of the school day.  

the last day of kindergarten

Autographs

Yearbooks usually arrive during the last week of school so set aside time for children to mingle about and sign their names.  Be sure to copy an autograph page for those without yearbooks so all can participate.

You might also find former students at your door wanting you to sign their yearbooks.  If you don't schedule time for this, you might find kids showing up at times that are less than convenient.  

At a previous school,  the principal scheduled a 30-minute autograph session where all staff sat outside their classrooms.  Children were free to circulate throughout the building to get autographs from former teachers and/or special area staff.     

Read Alouds

All year long you've been reading to children and have bonded through shared stories they have come to know and love.  Here's a few ideas for last day read alouds:
  • Invite children to vote on their favorite book and enjoy it one last time.
  • Read the same book you read to them on the first day of school.
  • Choose a special book with a goodbye message that is just right for your kiddos.  Here's my favorite! 
the last day of kindergarten

Special Treat

Celebrate the last day with a special treat all children will enjoy. You may want to involve them in selecting the treat or surprise them with a favorite.  

the last day of kindergarten

Thank You Gifts

Teachers don't plan on receiving gifts, but it is quite common for children to arrive on the last day anxious for you to open the "special something" they brought for you.   Reserve a few minutes to call children over privately and open the gift in their presence.  Oftentimes, they have worked hard to make a card or a gift and they welcome that special moment with you.

the last day of kindergarten

Positive Thoughts

If your school has a character ed program or schoolwide motto, think about ways you might send students off with these positive messages.  Our school has adopted the Positivity Project, so our kinders went home with rocks displaying the motto and wearing their #1 character strength/super power around their neck. 

the last day of kindergarten

the last day of kindergarten

Class Picture

Take one last picture of your class that you can share with parents as a thank you and goodbye.  The silly one is always my favorite!

the last day of kindergarten

Parting Songs

If you end each school day with a goodbye chant or song, don't forget to include this on the last day as well.  My favorites include Tom Chapin's Together Tomorrow Again and So Long by Bill Harley.  

Bus Wave

Many schools have a tradition of staff gathering outside on the last day to wave goodbye to busses as they drive around the bus circle.  Some even play music, sing songs (na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye), and blow bubbles to send children off in style.  

the last day of kindergarten

Our retirees even joined in the procession for one last farewell. 

the last day of kindergarten

Treat Yourself

Don't forget to plan a special something for yourself on this last day once all is said and done! I usually meet friends for drinks and dinner at a favorite spot where we can be outdoors!  Maybe a pedicure or massage is more up your alley!  Whichever you choose, celebrate the hard work and commitment you've made to the children you teach!

Wishing you all the best summer ever!

Thanks for stopping by!


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