Marking the school year's end

Parents' Corner

May 30, 1999

Editor's note: In her biweekly column, Jerdine Nolen today explores end-of-the-year rituals for students.

These are exciting months. This weekend marks the first holiday of summer. It also means another school year is coming to a close. In homes and school rooms alike, anticipation abounds. Another end is near, and we all have feelings about it. Whether these feelings are stated out loud or experienced just below the surface, it is a good idea and a good practice to notice and celebrate this passage of time. These rituals can also show how skills have been developed throughout the year.

* Look back over the year with your children. Encourage them to chart their progress in reading/ writing/math/social development. Make a list of "How I Have Improved This Year."

* Invite your children to prepare a letter of farewell or a thank-you note to an important teacher, adult or friend.

* Give your child a disposable box camera. Encourage him to record important people and ending events from this school year. Find an artful way to display the pictures, or arrange them in a book format entitled, "My Second Grade Year."

* Display awards, citations or honorable letters in artful ways around his bedroom or in your home.

* Plan summer projects of putting scrapbooks (photos, awards, etc.) together.

* Assist him in creating a Time Box to see how he has changed. Use an empty shoe box. Decorate the box with magazine pictures, etc. Have him place small things (a memento, a toy, sample writing or math problems, titles of books, favorite books) in it that show who he is now. Circle an opening date on your calendar for the end of the summer. Then, store the box in a safe place for your "Opening of School Ritual."

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

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