When I was a little girl, I remember the anticipation and frustration around Daylight Savings Time. It marked the end of the school year nearing, but it also meant that my brother and I were going to bed when it was still light outside while hearing our friends playing. This mix of excitement and disappointment is at work in every change, whether it be a cross-country move, a new job, a son’s wedding, or school’s end.

Although change is celebrated, it also causes sadness because it means saying goodbye to what is familiar. All change is loss. During this particular change of seasons, we are moving from the security of routine to the freedom of summer.

Take a moment to think about what other changes you are facing. Perhaps it is a family member’s death, a child’s graduation, or a friends’ divorce. How do you feel about these changes? It’s important for you to express your thoughts and feelings. Write about them, sing about them, paint them, talk about them…get them out!

It is essential that we as caring adults take the time to feel what we need to feel. Being emotionally healthy helps us be present for our students and colleagues.

As you process your emotions, you will see that although all change is loss, all change brings opportunity. It’s all in the way you look at it…your choice about the change. Charles DuBois (1804-1867), a Belgian naturalist said, “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Take a walk outside and look at the natural changes in the big world around you – budding trees, more sunlight, warbling birds. Then think about how you can grow through change because every ending means a new beginning.

Tips for Helping Students Process Change:

  1. Provide supplies for children to process their emotions as they create – Paper, crayons, paints, markers, glue, scissors, old magazines are everyday items that can be used to make something meaningful. If children seem stuck on how to get started, offer a prompt, such as “I am dealing with big changes like ________________, and it makes me feel ___________________.” Suggest that they draw, write, paint, or collage their response to this prompt.
  2. Structure a sharing time – This may be one-on-one with you at your desk or as a whole group. Determine this based on the strength of relationships in the class as well as the confidence level of the students. Sharing personal stories about loss can make people feel extremely vulnerable.
  3. Make referrals – When the sharing time uncovers deep needs, alert your school counselor and other service providers so the students and their families can receive necessary support, especially food during the summer months.

About the author


Tamara Fyke is a creative entrepreneur and Founder of BlueWonder Creative, a company dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of children, families, schools and communities.