7 ways to help students say goodbye to their 'old' school
Leaving a school and classmates is hard at any age. Thanks to the internet older students have ways of making sure they can stay in touch, but departing can still be difficult. All ages may fear the unknown of the new school. The more informed you are before you leave the less fear your child will have. It’s easier jumping if you know where you will land. Contacting a SLO and getting informed as much as possible about your new location will make departing the current school easier.
Let the teacher know the impending move is hard. DoDEA teachers often have children coming and going and many have come up with special ways to mark the move. The earlier you let the teacher know you are moving the better support the teacher can be.
Example: Teacher passes around a small stone from the playground. Each child shares a memory of the departing student while holding the stone. Stone is given to the child to “hold” all their memories and “keep” their good thoughts with them wherever they go.
Make a video of your child at the school talking about the school , their teachers, and friends. “Interview” staff and friends. It will be a nice memory for later and bring a smile to their face.
Have your child write a thank you letter to his/her teacher.
Create a scrapbook of their time at the school. Include a class photo. Write one comment or memory about each member of the class. If you do this with every move they will come to realize wherever they go, they will make good memories and thus more readily anticipate new ones.
For some, marking the last day with something special like a class snack may be helpful, but for others it may be overwhelming. Consider your child’s personality when de-ciding how that last day should go. Some parents check their child out just a few moments early so they aren’t in the “dismissal tornado” when their emotions are high.
Stay connected. If you are moving mid-year, sending a letter or email to the class telling about the new school can be helpful.
Students go through a bit of a grieving process when they leave the familiar. Expect to hear comparisons to the “old school” quite a bit initially. It’s their way of hanging on. Be patient, eventually the new school will be their “familiar”.