The Final Countdown

By Melissa Michaelson, Principal

It’s the final countdown of the school year.  With the end at arm’s reach, our children show signs of excitement, spring fever, “senioritis,” and even separation anxiety. No matter the emotion, it’s important for us as parents and educators to help our children maintain a consistent routine and get the most possible positive experience out of the last four weeks of school.  

While the final month of the year can often have a bad rap, the final stretch, in fact, is the culminating piece that brings everything from the school year together. Like the last phase of a flower blooming, this moment in time offers beautiful opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, express gratitude, and reflect.

Our children work hard.  

Their brains grapple with social, emotional, and academic situations all day long, absorbing a tremendous amount of knowledge in a single school year. They learn necessary academic and life skills, they learn content, they learn about others and about the world, and they learn about themselves.  

These accomplishments are something to celebrate: the big and obvious feats, and even more so, the little things that may not be recognized on a daily basis, but build upon one another leading to the greatest achievements and joy.  

The amazing young souls who attend Hillel Day School have accomplished an extraordinary amount, and for that, we should be grateful. Gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we can show our children. The end of the school year is an opportunity to say thank you to them for their efforts, the growth they’ve experienced, and the dedication they’ve shown.

The final piece in making the most out of the end of the school year is reflection. Sociologist Jack Mezirow states, “A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.” It is important for our children to reflect on their experiences from the school year, and that process can start now: noticing their accomplishments, recognizing areas that still need growth, feeling the moments of joy, and cheering for the people who influenced them in a positive manner.  

Reflection is an ongoing process, but it is especially important as we conclude a chapter, giving us the time and space for closure.  It can also help maintain our focus during the last month of school. Instead of getting through it, be in it. Be in the moment and the greatness that the end of the school year brings.

Reflection Questions:

What is something you accomplished this year that makes you proud? Why?

What was the nicest thing someone did for you this year? Why?

What was the most challenging part of this year for you? Why?

Where is your favorite place in the school?  Why?

What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year but is easy now? Why?

What is something you taught your teacher or classmates this year?

Who inspired you this year?  Why? Who did you inspire this year?  Why?

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