This is the time of year when so many changes are occurring at the Collective. Little Stars are preparing to move to the Bears Room, Rainbow Room, or a new school in September. Many Bears and Rainbows are preparing to move onto kindergarten or preK, while others are anticipating staying in their rooms as “the big kids” with new, younger classmates.
To help children navigate these transitions, the teachers this week are spending circle times talking to the children about these imminent changes and acknowledging all the different emotions they may be experiencing: sadness, excitement, joy, fear, and more. It is so important to give your child space to express these emotions and to be accepting of their responses to these changes. At the same time, children need reassurances that while things will be different next year, there will also be things that stay the same, e.g., their families, their homes, and their old friends. For those children who are leaving the Collective, it is helpful for them to know that they can always play with their old friends and visit their old school, where their former teachers and many former classmates will be so, so happy to see them. For the Little Stars, it is helpful for them to know that they will still see their friends even if they are in a different room – and hopefully their friends who are leaving will come and visit.
To help make these changes more concrete and understandable, the teachers have made stick people of all the children by taping the children’s photos to popsicle sticks. The children are then putting their stick “person” into a box that is labelled “Bears Room,” “Rainbow Room,” or “New School” – and all the children in each room are learning where their classmates are going in September. Also, the Little Stars visited the Bears and Rainbow classrooms today to check out their new rooms (while the Bears and Rainbows were at the playground), and tomorrow and Thursday they will visit again and meet their new teachers and classmates. (Children who are leaving/graduating will play in the gym or side yard during these visits.)
Another way the Collective helps facilitate the transition from Little Stars to Bears/Rainbows is that we often move a Little Stars teacher into the Bears and Rainbow Rooms for the following school year. This year we are moving Monica and Fred to Rainbows and Patricia to Bears. As I announced earlier, the specific teams for the 2014-15 school year will be:
Little Stars: Mae, Shameka, Nivin, Bianca, and Margaret
Bears: Elizabeth, Olive, Sherri, Krissy, and Patricia
Rainbows: Iris, Dawn, Monica, and Fred
And we are very excited that Carmen will be a floater teacher next year who will work in all 3 rooms.
That’s it for now. I will send another email out soon to Bears and Rainbow families with the specifics about graduation.
PS Another tip for families who are leaving: if you haven’t already, do take your child to visit his/her new school, even if it is just the outside of the building. It can help immensely to see the actual, concrete place where she/he will be going in September.