Home > School and Learning > Back to School > Transitions > When Schools Are Shut Down

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

When Schools Are Shut Down

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: Our elementary school is closing. The 400 students will be moved to other schools next year, and the following year, a number of students will be moved again. Is this good for the kids? What problems will we see and how do we deal with them?

A: The changes you describe are difficult for children, just as they would be for adults. When they are inevitable, however, we must help everyone deal with them in the best way possible.

Talk with the school counselor and principal about your concerns, and ask what is being planned to help the children with these changes. Since the school is closing, it will be very appropriate to have some kind of celebration of the school at the end of the year. A program to recognize the part the school has played in the life of the community could involve both current and former students. A "time capsule" could be buried with items that recognize important events of the past year. You could offer to help the staff or the PTA plan the celebration.

The children who are moving may experience some problems with nervousness, anxiety, and fear about the new situation. Be calm, understanding, and supportive of them as they make the change. Ask if the children can be taken as a group before school ends this year to visit the new school they will attend next year. You may want to visit the school grounds over the summer and at open house in the fall to help the children feel comfortable in the new setting.

Ask if there is something each child who is leaving the school could take to the new school, such as a construction paper "brick" or something else that represents the old school. This year, the bricks could be assembled against a wall in the new building, and next year, once the children are attending the school, they could add more "bricks" in a special remembrance ceremony.

Finally, talk with the principal and counselor at the new school and make sure they are making plans to help the new students feel comfortable and included. This all needs to happen again when more children are moved at the end of next year.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks