1. Wind Down Slowly. Give children time to tie up individual and group projects. This helps them to prepare emotionally for the end-of-the-year transition.
2. Share a Sparkle-and-Scrub Day. Provide buckets and sponges to wash easels and other classroom materials. Don't forget the outdoor trikes and balls! Encourage parent volunteers to help mend books and repair outdoor equipment.
3. Adopt a Mitten. Clean up the lost-and-found box. Display items in clever ways on a clothesline or dressed-up teddy bears so families will notice and take accumulated items home.
4. Meet and Chat. Meet with parents to select items for children's portfolios so you both can celebrate their growth and achievements.
5. Create a Story Quilt. Divide a large sheet of mural paper into squares. Encourage each child to design a square, depicting a favorite school experience. This parting gift to the school is also a welcoming wall hanging for returning children.
6. Make a Memory Box. Gather photos of classroom experiences or items from field trips and put them in a special box. Share the box with children so they can recall these experiences.
7. Have a Video Viewing. Invite families to enjoy video clips that highlight children's projects and individual accomplishments. No video? No problem! Share photos on a documentation panel.
8. Exchange Good-bye Messages. Provide materials at the writing and art centers that children can use to make cards for their friends or create memory bracelets.
9. Say Farewell to Families. Invite families to a picnic or potluck dinner to share festive good-byes. Make sure everyone has something to take home, such as a child's painting, project, or story.
10. Plan a Preview. To ease transitions, older preschoolers might visit their new room at the center. Children moving on to kindergarten can take a trip to meet the next teacher, see the cafeteria, or sit on the big yellow school bus.