Let's Celebrate! End of Year Portfolios
“Certainly we can find one hour out of every day, one day out of every week and one week out of every term to breathe, look around and rest in order to dance with those children God has entrusted to our care.”
~Common Place Quarterly
We end each 6 week term with a Celebration of Learning to see where we have come, to be proud of the obstacles we have overcome and to allow the stories, the poems, the places, the people and the ideas we have met along the way sink deeper into our hearts, minds and souls. However, at the end of our last six week term, we culminate the year with an End of Year Portfolio. This started as my way of reporting to our local school district what we had accomplished over the year, which I am obviously still required to do, but over the years, this practice has turned into so much more. Our portfolio is basically a binder with dividers highlighting each child’s work over the course of the year. In the past, I have always put these together myself, usually way late into the evening when everyone else was in bed.
After putting together these portfolios I write a reflection and my children complete a reflection (either orally or written depending on their age) about the strengths, the struggles, the challenges, favorite memories and goals and hopes for the next year. Then we sit down together with Daddy to talk about the year, share our reflections and look through the portfolio. This has been a great way to incorporate my husband and include him in the dialogue and celebration.
In past years, we have hosted an End of School Celebration in our home inviting our friends and neighbors, most of them a generation or two ahead of us, over for an open house event. Each child has made a photo board from the year and displayed his / her work in a designated area of our home. As our visitors walk through our home, each child has had an opportunity to share his / her work, answer questions and share what they have learned, and then we finish off the evening with an ice cream sundae bar! This has been a very special event that we all look forward to. We were disappointed to not be able to host it this year due to our state’s COVID-19 regulations.
It always blows me away how much we actually accomplish in one school year. The days can be long and hard, and in the midst of it, I can sometimes miss it, but when given the opportunity to zoom out and see the wider scope of a year in its entirety- it truly is incredible! As I lean back and take it all in, it is a reassurance to my heart that we have in fact filled the pails of learning, kindled fires of wonder, grown, stretched and soared. May you too be encouraged!
FREE Downloadable End of Year Templates
Included: (click on underlined words for link)
1. Report Card_Blank (focused on elementary levels, but could be used for other levels as well)
2. Letter of Completion Notes – Organized outline of what the child learned during the school year and what work will be included in the submitted packet to the school district.