As summer officially approaches, our fun and exciting school year will soon come to an end. As teachers, we will certainly miss all of our students and their families. The children have grown so much and developed so many wonderful friendships along the way.

“Goodbyes” can be difficult for children to understand. In our Cubs classroom, we have a very concrete way of saying ‘goodbye’ that helps the children see how many days are left in school and show them what it really means to “say goodbye.”

To count down our days left in school, the teachers in our classroom create a “goodbye chain.” Each day, we will count how many links are left on the chain. Then a friend will take one link off of the chain, and we will count again to see how many days are left after that day. As the days go by, the chain gets shorter and shorter, and the children understand that school will end when we have taken all of the links off of the chain.

Goodbye Chain

Another routine we use in our classroom to gradually introduce the end of the school year is the “Goodbye Box.” In our class, we say goodbye to the classroom in pieces. When a toy or material from our classroom is placed inside the box, we do not get to play with it anymore because we already said goodbye to it. This routine helps the children understand that when we say goodbye to school, it means that we will not come back every day or every other day until next school year. Each day a child will choose one material or toy to place in the box. The children will say what they love about the toy or material and as a class we say goodbye to it.

Goodbye Box
Saying “goodbye” can be difficult for children, but when armed with the right tools it can be a happy, memorable experience and a way to celebrate the fun had throughout the school year.

Have you practiced other techniques in your classroom or been in a school that did something similar? We would love to hear about it! Leave your comments below and they may be featured in a follow-up post.

SHARED By: Jessica Volkers, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool
Through her work as an early childhood educator, Jessica encourages children to explore their world and become intrinsic, self-motivated learners. She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from SUNY New Paltz and a master’s degree in Literacy Education form Hunter College CUNY. Jessica also enjoys taking pictures, baking and decorating cakes. She has a cat named Snowball and a dog named Ryu.