Now is the time to look back over the year and gaze ahead at the future - and group time is the perfect place to do this. Here are some fun ways to review the experiences you've shared and celebrate the children's individual and collective growth.
Chart the Change
Start by inviting children to list the things they learned to do this year. Then create an "I Can" chart. Children's suggestions will range from "I can write my name" to "I can count to 20."
Each day the children can illustrate their accomplishments and paste their drawings on the chart. Keep the chart on display so they can add to it when they think of additional achievements. Review it together during your last week as a group, and remind children of all they've learned.
Show It Off
Take this idea a step further by asking children to demonstrate their new skills and accomplishments.
They'll enjoy showing the group how they can tie their shoelaces, walk across the climbing bar, and balance on one foot!
For a very physical demonstration of change, ask parents to bring in clothes the children have outgrown. Laying a now too-tight jacket next to a new jacket - or old shoes beside new ones will offer a concrete representation of children's growth. Children can also make and cut out tracings of the new and old clothes and then compare them.
Write About It
Creating yearbooks is a wonderful way to celebrate the year Collect photos or self-portraits of the children from the beginning of the year. Then take photos of the children now, or ask them to draw new self-portraits. Invite children to dictate a comment about the year and what they've learned.
Create a page for each child with his or her photo, drawing, and quote. Include a page about yourself too. Then make copies of the entire book for all the children. They'll love taking it home to share with their family members.
Review, Recall, and Relive
Looking through the photos, group books, charts, lists, and creations children made throughout the year helps everyone remember the rich and rewarding experiences you've had together. Ask children to share their best and worst memories. What were their favorite projects, activities, books, songs, and field trips? Invite children to look through their personal portfolios for reminders of the many things they've done this year.
You can even relive the experiences by recreating children's favorite project, singing their favorite song, or reading their favorite book.
Changes occur all around us all the time, often without our even noticing. As the year comes to an end, take the time to help children recognize and appreciate how they've grown.