Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saying goodbye

The past few weeks have seen a spurt of growth for our class and many bonding relationships form. Each child has begun to strongly express their own unique identities. This has led to everyone really gaining awareness of each other and forming closer bonds. With three of our loved children graduating and moving on this summer it has been interesting seeing the process of change sweep over our school. Each child has seemed to gain their own understanding of what saying goodbye means.

MR said, "WK, Im your best friend right? Who will been your friend when I'm gone?"

WK thoughtfully replied, "Hmm, DM will be my friend."

This thoughtful exploration of feelings has spread throughout the school and led every child to come to their own conclusions. What does it mean saying goodbye? What happens to your friendships when you leave? What happens when you go to another school?

These questions have been coursing through our heads in order to understand change in a healthy way.

T and M have also been asking questions like, are we still going to be friends or will I see you when I leave this school? After a bit of unease with this change, each student started to make a game of transitions, repeating conversations over and over such as, you can come to my birthday or you can come over to my house and we will play. T often starts playing with someone by asking, "Do you want to come to my house?" This has also caught on with other children as a way to invite play. By asking someone if they are a friend, everyone at Tumbleweeds has really been gaining awareness of the their class and how special it is to everyone.

These questions and more have moved through our school like a wave and as a result have accelerated many bonds and friendships in the past weeks.  Transitions at our school have always been an invitation and part of a routine that almost seems like ceremony when everyone is included and uplifted by what is occuring. This has also seemed to translate into our next difficult transition: saying goodbye.

A week later M was still processing her friendship with W. "Am I still your friend? Who is your best friend? Who is your second best friend?" As we move through each of our good byes one by one children will continue to process. Their ability to feel safe in this environment and express their emotions helps them to feel at ease with the range of feelings that comes with saying goodbye to someone we love- whether it is for a very long time, a very short time, or always.

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