It is SO important to celebrate the end of school with your students. After all, they have grown so much this past year academically (and probably physically, too!) They have learned how to be great friends and classmates, turned into readers and writers, and completed their very first year of school. Those are big accomplishments for our little learners! Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate the end of the school year in kindergarten and show them how proud I am of their hard work.
One way to celebrate the end of the school year is by having students complete an end-of-the-year memory project. In these types of projects, students can reflect on their own learning journey and the things they are most proud of themselves for accomplishing. They can make note of their best friends from the year, draw pictures of themselves doing their favorite playground activities, and even write about what their favorite school lunches were! End-of-the-year projects help students to look back and think about the things that were most important to them. It will also give their parents something to look back on throughout the years as they remember their child’s time in kindergarten.
Another great way to celebrate the school year ending is by giving students end-of-year certificates. Sometimes, end-of-the-year certificates celebrate academic accomplishments for students, but they can also be used to show students that you appreciate other things about them. Traits like working hard, being a great listener, or even having a great laugh can all be recognized through certificates.
I have created some ‘End of The Year Awards‘ that help celebrate different qualities of students and their personalities. Students love these because they come with a little treat for them. I love that it gives me a great way to acknowledge what I love about my students and lets them know that they are special to me.
After you've compiled a helpful list, you can celebrate a successful year by hosting an awards ceremony and announce your student's name to the rest of the class to share their special qualities—and then do this one by one until each student has been recognized. This is an opportunity to share your favorite story or memory you have of this student in particular. This is a fantastic way to make each student feel special and build up their self-esteem.
Have a Special Event/Activity
When you think about encapsulating the memories of a special event, you can almost always link those memories back to a special meal. When celebrating the end of the year, you cannot go wrong with having a special event for students to show how much they mean to you—like bringing in cupcakes or another special treat (considering food allergies of course). Some teachers have classic activities like ice cream parties, while others have a day of show-and-tell. Others might throw a theme party, have a picnic lunch, or do activities like an in-class campout, where students can bring a blanket from home and spend the day looking at classroom books.
If you are teaching virtually, ice cream parties might not be an option, but you can still host a virtual end-of-year celebration. Students could still do show-and tell from home, or you could have a Zoom dance party. You can even play games virtually to celebrate. Whether you are in the classroom or teaching online, there are plenty of options for special events to celebrate the school year ending.
By having celebrations for the end of school, students will know how special they were to their classmates, and teachers and will have a great way to reflect on their time in kindergarten.
Share Your Favorite Ways to Celebrate
I hope these ideas helped inspire you to think of other creative ways to celebrate with future students! Whatever you end up doing, it's sure to be a great time and a special day for your students. In the future you can create your own master list of fun activity ideas to pull from, so that way if one idea doesn't work out, you already have a great alternative or two to plan!
Which fun activities are your favorite? What are great ideas you would add to this list? What's a special way you've celebrated with your students in the past?