Looking Ahead

A few weeks ago, I delivered my baby daughter to college. Despite the fact that she’s the youngest of three, I’m still wondering, where did the time go? We were both excited and sad, and there were even a few tears… mostly from me. Many children have just spent the last week or so making a transition that can seem as big as moving away to college! Some children have left a certain classroom, their primary caregiver or even moved on to a new school. It’s important to recognize how difficult this can be for them, and for us!

Surprisingly, it’s often the small, everyday things that are the hardest to say good-bye to. In my years working with early childhood educators, parents and children, there are a few memories that survive to the college years and beyond.

  • For parents, knowing that the greeting they receive from teachers each morning is personal and special. You and your child are important!
  • Seeing children revel in the changing seasons, pulling dandelions or enjoying the first snow of the year.
  • Children encouraged to share their feelings over the death of the class hermit crab or guinea pig.
  • Parents make a difference! Even if they’re only donating margarine tubs and cardboard tubes.

Teachers are there at the toughest of times, like settling down for a nap on a child’s first day in a new classroom. These little moments are big in the scope of a child’s social and emotional development.

Saying good-bye to what we’ve known doesn’t mean we’ve moved on. Our memories continue to shape our experiences. When a child goes to a new school or encounters a new situation, everything they’ve learned goes with them. The same is true for parents and early childhood educators, as well. When you say goodbye to children as they move to a new classroom, to preschoolers as they transition into kindergarten, remember to take your memories along. They’re a valuable collection, and one you’re sure to keep adding to with all of the children who’ve just come to you!