Transitions: Excited for Summer Break?
As yet another summer approaches, I find myself thinking about transitions. Transitions for us (adults) but mostly I find myself thinking about our students. Our students/children are asked to transition constantly. They transition throughout their days, from class to class, period to period, activity to activity. They transition from home to school, then school to home. They transition from school to holiday and holiday to school. Then, in what seems like a “blink of an eye” it is time for our students to transition from school to summer, which means a transition from one grade to the next. For our oldest students in the elementary school division, it means a transition from one division to the next.
How can we help prepare our students (and parents) for summer break?
It would require several blog posts to write about all of the transitions mentioned above. Thus, I have decided to focus on how we can support the transition from school to summer break in hopes of making the summer holiday sound as appealing to parents as it currently sounds to our students (and teachers)!
I often speak about the “village” and how we are all part of the team. This aligns with our #OneChurchill motto, as we must all work together to support the progress and success of all of our students. This is related to transitions. We must have open lines of communication: student to teacher, teacher to student, teacher to parent, parent to teacher, etc. etc. Open lines of communication with all members of our elementary school village will help to prepare and support our students as we approach the summer holiday. Asking questions is a great way to communicate. We assume all students are excited about the summer break, but are we asking them how they are feeling? Are we asking specifically, what they are excited about? Involve EVERYONE, including the children in these conversations. It will allow them time to self-reflect and process.
Children respond to and benefit from routine and schedules. It is important to maintain routines even during times of transition. Specifically, when students are on summer break, having routines and schedules will help to make the transition from school to summer holiday a smoother situation for everyone. Maintaining the same routines, like wake up times and bedtimes is very important as it provides children with a sense of stability, which ultimately can reduce potential anxiety of the unknown. We should all spend some time talking to our students and children about this upcoming transition to summer break and go over their specific schedules. This may differ from child to child; thus, we rely on those open lines of communication with families. Previewing schedules is always helpful!
Understand it’s an adjustment:
For many children, the anticipated excitement of summer break may wear-off quite quickly and you may notice a difference in behavior. We all need time to adjust. After the first week or two the children should adjust to their summer environment, whether it’s a variety of day camps, sleepaway camp, long days on the beach, long days at home or anything else under the summer sun! No matter what, take deep breaths of understanding, because they will adjust. Then, it will be time to prepare for the transition back to school!!
Happy almost summer everyone!
Sara L. Cohen
Elementary School Principal
The Churchill School and Center