The End of the School Year

My dining room table has been a jumble of children’s work collected throughout the year.  I have put on the finishing touches.  Parents will get their child’s Portfolio – the full collection – next week.  I’ll be there, looking over their shoulder as they walk through the school year with their child.  Tissues needed.

Children have been saying goodbye in many ways.  Some are crying, some are glued to my side.  We’re reading all their favorite books, from Humphrey the Lost Whale, to Mother Bruce, to Harry the Dirty Dog, to Those Pesky Rabbits, and This Land is Your Land.  We’re just hanging out together.  Gloria has been well loved and also very needed.

My Book Bears reading group at the library had their final meeting.  Here is a letter to me from Jared:

Dear Jennie, Thank you for being the head of Book Bears.  My favorite book that we read was Two Dogs in a Trench Coat.  You are the best preschool teacher.  When I started in Book Bears I was below reading grade level. Now I am above grade level.  I wrote a fairy tale in school and thought you would like it so I gave it to you.

The fairy tale is The Three Little Chipmunks and the Big Bad Giant.  It’s wonderful!

I was invited to the high school graduation of a former preschooler in my class.  What an honor to be included in such a special event!  How many preschool teachers have this opportunity?  Not many!

It is a roller coaster, a flurry of emotions, moments that are fleeting that I wish could be locked in time.  I want to rewind and play it back again.  But of course that cannot be.  I must settle for the memories.  And that is really all I need.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in behavior, books, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, Kindness, Love, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to The End of the School Year

  1. Ritu says:

    And so deserved Jennie 💜

  2. map195 says:

    sweet letter…your students love you…this is your real succes

  3. GP Cox says:

    That young man, in one invitation, shows exactly how important and what an impression you make on the children.

  4. This way of recounting the children’s progress through the year is so much more beautiful and meaningful than some dry report about the child’s progress compared to other children in the class, etc. I am sure you know the kind of report I mean. It has very little understanding of the child as individual as your saving of the events will mean to the parents and to the child over the long time of growing up.

    I remember a lady artist I once met and her mother had saved every little thing she had created since she was one of the tiny ones. It was remarkable to see her integrity in her creativity and her development as a genuine artist over time who knew who she was and what was important to her spirituality and to her life. I am so happy to read your report. Every time I drive by a school, my heart smiles, for I have so many good memories with my children I served.

    I am in a new role now as caregiver for my significant other, Richard, and so in a way, I am one of those little preschoolers or kinders trying to figure out a whole new world and to get to see all the things you have been sharing with us in a new light and context. This is not an easy role, but one I need to do. I did not plan for this or study to become what I am doing, and I am hoping that my years of caring for the little ones will help me to find my way through all this. Thank you so kindly for being an inspiration in my life. You are so amazing.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Anne! While we still have a five-page form of checks and narratives for each child , twice a year, (don’t get me started), this Portfolio is a real hands-on display. I love writing, and I love writing about children, but the Portfolio speaks volumes to parents. Seeing the first time they wrote their name independently, or drew a family portrait… the long list is a good list.

      Thank you for sharing your stories. They are wonderful! Kinders and preschoolers have a keen sense, and an open eye and mind. I think they teach us. And that is what can guide you as a caretaker. Follow that heart. Eat to you, Anne.

  5. That’s just beautiful, Jennie. So many emotions everywhere!

  6. beetleypete says:

    I can just imagine your tear-filled eyes, Jennie. New faces next year, and old ones inviting you to graduations. What a salute to your influence, and your skill. You are justly loved by all. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. What a lovely, yet poignant post, Jennie. I love the picture you chose for the end.
    You remind me of that Closing time song. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Great big hug, my friend.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Teagan! It’s been busy and intense for everyone. I guess that picture at the end kind of sums up life, or at least the end of a journey in life. Smiles tell the story of many, many years. Pretty cool! Big hugs to you, my friend. 😍

  8. Darlene says:

    Oh, Jennie. I’m sure it is a jumble of emotions for you and the children. But that invitation to the graduation is what it is all about, isn’t it! Well done you for getting another group of preschoolers off to a good start in school and life! xo

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Darlene. The emotions definitely run high. Yes, that invitation to a graduation is perhaps a pinnacle, a nod of tremendous thanks. And that’s what it’s all about. I think this year’s group will move forward with success. 🙂

  9. I love the idea of you getting that invite to the graduation. Great photo too.

  10. Opher says:

    Time to recharge Jennie!!

  11. How very sweet and touching! Yes, tissues definitely needed!

  12. What a lovely day for a graduation (looks like it from the photo).
    Talk about ‘full circle’.
    Life can be soooo good at times!

  13. I can see how the end of the school year would be bitter sweet for you. As for the children, they must miss you terribly over the summer.

    • Jennie says:

      It is bittersweet, Liz. When the new year begins, the reconnections are wonderful.

      • Do you teach the same children multiple years?

      • Jennie says:

        My class is a multi-aged. Children have to be at least 2.9, and they can be as old as 4.1 (missing the cut-off date for Pre-K). So, typically we have 4 or 5 children each year who start as one of the youngest, and have a second year as an older child. Let me tell you, it is wonderful for those children who have two years. They blossom, parents are beyond thrilled, and those children often become a great presence and strength when they move on. I think / know early bonding, like two years in the same classroom, has terrific benefits for the child. Thank you, Liz.

      • Thank you for the additional information, Jennie. I can definitely see the advantages for a child, particularly a very young child, to be in the same classroom with the same teacher two years in a row.

      • Jennie says:

        It is an advantage. They have more confidence, therefore grow and learn with open arms. Or I should say open mind and open heart.

  14. Ellen says:

    “Teaching children is an accomplishment; getting children excited about learning is an achievement.” – Robert John Meehan. Your adored preschoolers, present and former, attest to the fact that you have both accomplished and achieved these goals. Beautifully done! Thank-you for sharing this year’s journey through your delightful blog!

  15. Gorgeous graduation photo Jennie. A proud moment 🙂

  16. srbottch says:

    Terrific, Jennie. What a thoughtful gesture from the graduate. Your memories will fill a…a…well,
    I can’t think of anything big enough! Have a great day!

  17. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, beautiful happy sad days! 😀 The letter is precious and the title of the tale compelling.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Annika. I was quite moved by the letter. He had it folded so that the fairy tale was inside and had to be pulled out. Yes, feeling many emotions.

  18. Norah says:

    How wonderful, Jennie. And next year you’ll do it all over again – loving another set of children and inspiring them to love reading and learning too.

  19. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful (and well deserved) treat! Enjoy your summer, Jennie.

  20. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, This is wonderful, and it is an excellent example of how important teaching is. Bravo!

  21. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is another wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!

  22. Amanda Cade says:

    This is a beautiful post. Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world, and your love for and dedication to your students is an inspiration.

  23. Isnt this not wonderful? 🙂 Well deserved Jennie, its the greatest honour a teacher can get. Best wishes, Michael

  24. saralakron says:

    I love the letter. How sweet.

  25. magarisa says:

    How amazing to be invited to the high school graduation of a former preschooler in your class!

  26. delphini510 says:

    How wonderful Jennie, so much outpouring of love from your young pupils.
    You settle with these precious memories and go on creating more.


  27. I am betting so many of those kids will forever be likewise “locked in time”…comparing new teachers and then professors from this day onward to the one who made a difference — You!

  28. dgkaye says:

    Parting is always such sweet sorrow Jennie. Rest in your heart knowing how appreciated you are and for all the precious memories. Next year you will make new ones.

  29. Ah, but I think you get invited to extraordinary events because you are an extraordinary teacher, Jennie. What goes around comes around, as they say. I am sure this is a hard goodbye for everyone.

  30. MeRaw says:

    Such a lovely heartfelt note from Jared.
    You have made a great difference to these children with your inspirational ways.
    x 🚸 x

  31. Oh Jennie, this is amazing! I’m so touched and glad I read this post. The photo of you and your former student is exquisite (and you are beautiful). Congratulations on all your memories and the way that you help these kids. What a fantastic note from your student!!!!

    Much love to you Jennie.

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