Friday, May 27, 2011

A farewell to ALL of my butterflies

A little over a week ago, I shared  my last day with my fours class. The last day is such a bittersweet time.

It is a celebration of a fantastic year learning and playing together. But it is also a goodbye to the children and parents with whom I have spent the last nine months sharing my days.

I have a few special traditions that I like to do on this day.

As a going away present each family receives a three ring binder full of art work, documented stories the children have shared, song lyrics of favorite tunes from the year and more than 20 pages of collaged photos from the year.  It also holds the child's placemat, cubby name tag, graph magnet, mailbox label and many other items used in the daily workings of our literacy rich classroom.  It is a highly anticipated present by any parent familiar with this tradition.

We have a family picnic sharing potluck brunch treats and play on our playground-the last post on our messy week is coming soon explaining our spaghetti painting that was part of this play.  Moms, dads, siblings and even grandparents often join us!

The children share a special song-this year as we were just finishing a study on insects, we made props for "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly".

And I read my favorite last day story, The Wise Woman and her Secret which also gets a blog post of its own.

This year we had the bonus activity of letting our butterflies go.  The last of the five caterpillars emerged from its chrysalis just in time to be released on our last day.  I was so thankful that it stopped raining for this occasion as well, as they should not be released in rainy weather.

As the children and I let them go, I could not help but reflect on the growth and changes I had seen in each of my students.  They have emerged from our little red school house-their chrysalis for the last three years for many of them-and are ready to be life long learners.

Because they have experienced learning through play, they have made the connection that learning is fun, that they are valued contributers to their learning and that they can do anything they set their minds to do.

Like our butterflies were on this day, some are hesitant to go and some are ready to soar away.

I wish them all good luck as their journeys continue.

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