OBSERVATIONS · Waldorf Education

When it’s the last day of school you reflect on how much has changed — for the better.

I was reminded of Maribeth Boelts’s picture book I used to read to my students, When It’s the Last Day of School as I drove Isabelle to school today.  Even though we have a class field trip to a farm next week, today was the last day we’d be in the school building for this school year.  As I recalled Boelts’ book, I made a mental note to capture as much as I could in my mind today.  I wanted to take note of how much has changed since Isabelle (and I) started Parent/Child Class in September.


In September two and a half hour class felt long. I would trail Isabelle around the classroom as she toddled around “exploring.”

In May each two and a half hour class feels short. I can sit and talk with other parents and watch Isabelle from a distance.

In September Isabelle opened all of the teacher’s cabinets looking for treasures.  One time she even unloaded all of the felt from one of them!

In May Isabelle knows her way around the classroom.  She’ll occasionally open a cabinet, but I think it’s just to see if I’m paying attention.

In September Isabelle wouldn’t eat the snacks the teacher served.  I had to bring my own bag of snacks for her.

In May Isabelle enjoys the pretzels and some of the muffins the teacher makes.  She tries everything that’s presented to her.

In September Isabelle was so busy “exploring” that she didn’t even realize there was a snack being prepared by the other kids and parents.

In May Isabelle takes turns stirring the muffin batter, oiling the baking sheets, and sprinkling cinnamon on top of the cinnamon roll dough.

In September Isabelle would flit from one activity to another.  Her play lacked purpose.

In May Isabelle can entertain herself with activities.  She engages in pretend play with the baby dolls and by having tea parties with other kids.

In September I had to constantly supervise Isabelle.  I had no time to do the craft projects.

In May I can keep my eye on Isabelle without hovering.  I’ve been able to make felted slippers.

In September Isabelle wasn’t quite steady on her feet.

In May Isabelle is climbing on things she isn’t supposed to have her feet on. She takes risks and tries obstacle courses and the curvy board on a regular basis.

In September Isabelle could barely make it through circle time.  She was not engaged in any of the songs.

In May Isabelle enjoys participating in circle time.  While she may occasionally stray, she participates and tries to make the hand gestures in the songs.

In September Isabelle was unable to make it through story time.  In fact, she seemed completely uninterested in the puppet play.

In May Isabelle can sit through story time.  She delights in watching her teacher’s puppets and figures come to life.

Oh what a change in my little girl in just a few months’ time. Thanks to the predictable rhythm and routines her teacher established, Isabelle was able to adapt to her classroom.  She was so young when school started in September… not even two.  Now she’s steadier on her feet, willing to engage with other kids, and a child who loves school.  What more could an educator ask for!??!


12 thoughts on “When it’s the last day of school you reflect on how much has changed — for the better.

  1. What a difference a school year makes! My younger son turns 9 Tuesday, so I’m doing my own reflecting on his growth. It’s so wonderful (and scary) to see them grow and become more independent!

  2. Stacey, I loved that you shared how your daughter has grown this year! We had to do something similar to this for my graduate program at Judson University. I am trying to figure out how to have my students to this at the end of the year. 🙂

  3. Your reflection makes me excited to see our grand daughter who is coming in a couple of weeks. Isabelle is a few months older, but I imagine we will see such a difference also. I’m glad that you get to go to this wonderful class with her. xo

  4. This is an amazing reflection, Stacey. Isabelle sure has grown a lot in just a few months!! I was clapping for her as I read this! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Isn’t it amazing how quickly our children grow? I’m glad you took the time to reflect and I especially liked your line about Isabelle climbing on things she’s not supposed to. That made me smile and brought back memories of my own children (especially my son). Your post is a good reminder for us teachers to look back on our students and think about their growth. For some students who are behind grade level, it may seem like they’ve not come very far. But if we take the time to think back to the beginning of the year and celebrate their accomplishments, we will see that they have, indeed, made great progress.

  6. As we are living a life, we sometimes think nothing changes. But when you stop, step back and ponder, you realize the magnitude of the change. So much growth for one so small, but every year will bring about that same wonder of learning.

  7. In noticeable ways and in subtle ways, our children grow and change so much in the course of a year. How lovely for you and Isabelle that you remembered so much – and this is just the beginning.

  8. Again, I am always impressed at how you document Isabelle’s life. She will treasure all of your pictures, videos and reflections and you will also love to re-live the moments that all go flying by. They change SO exponentially fast at her age. Love reading your post.

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