As a Director of a child care program, it is bittersweet when the end of the school year rolls around. My heart is always happy for our students who have completed a year of school and I am proud of those students who are ready to move on to the next step in their educational careers… but at the same time I am sad to watch some of our students leave.
As an early childhood professional we form strong relationships with our families. For some of our students that come into care as infants, we watch them grow from a baby into mature children. During those years we form bonds with parents as well. When it is time for a family to leave a program it can be emotional for the child, the parent, the staff and a Director. Each year I dread saying goodbye to families, but the pride in my heart gives me the strength to watch them go.
I make it a rule to never actually say the words “goodbye”….for I know that I will see families around town at the grocery store, at the mall, out to eat, etc. I also make it clear that our families are always welcome to come and visit and to attend our annual family events. Letting go is never easy, but knowing that we will see each other again makes this process a little easier.
It is important for staff to have some kind of closure at the end of the school year. I know that at our center many teachers will have their classes talk about what their favorite part of the school year was. This exercise gives the children a chance to re-live their most memorable experiences while at our school in a positive way.
However your center decides to end the school year, be sure to thank families who have chosen your program, show gratitude towards those have volunteered their time and express your gra
titude toward your hardworking staff. Don’t say goodbye, simply say “see you soon.”