Back to school: releasing the emotional charge

 

A way to help a child move through the transition from the holidays to school term is to make a simple ritual to mark the occasion.  For example, it could be a special trip to somewhere nice, or a special meal
or cake.  A useful framework is to see children are moving physical and geographical space, and also emotional space.  Being conscious of this ‘moving through spaces’ can be helpful.  Places in nature can be great resources for marking time.  Looking at seasonal changes helps create a future map of constant changes and transitions children will experience.  Adults can help children to think up simple ways to let go of the old and welcome in the new time to come; maybe finding a natural doorway between two trees, and telling about all the things that are staying in the holiday time, and all the things there will be in the school time to come, and then stepping through the doorway symbolically.  It could be leaving a summertime stone or a specially made natural artwork in a special place.  Artwork, photographs,
a storytelling session could fit into these types of celebrations or rituals.  Helping the child to think about what they will need in the coming months, and find something in nature to represent this and take it home to remind them and their carers; for example, patience could be represented by a seed that needs waiting for the right time to grow.

Making a picture for the coming school year can help to bring any fears out in the open, and also gives the child a means of putting anticipation (their thoughts and feelings) outside themselves, b
ut also can be examined and shared with caring adults in their lives.  The child knows what the picture stands for and means to them, it doesn’t matter whether anyone else does, or whether it would be a contender for the Texaco art competition.  Most of all, ask the child how they would like to mark the transition; with a few starter suggestions, they have answers that suit them best.