In kindergarten, the end of the day can often feel chaotic as students gather their belongings and prepare to go home. However, incorporating closing meeting activities into your daily routine can help turn that chaos into a structured and positive end to the day. I have witnessed firsthand the power of these activities in promoting a sense of community and reinforcing important concepts. Closing meeting activities can take many forms, from reflection shares to group games. They provide an opportunity for students to share their thoughts and feelings about the day.
Why Closing Meeting Activities
It is easy to get lost in the dismissal and pack-up craze and just focus on rushing around to make sure the room is ready, and the children are going home the right way with all their belongings. Having a closing meeting gives teachers and students a chance to end their day with a bit more calmness and even some fun. Additionally closing meeting activities give children a chance to reflect on their day and to continue building classroom community. Reflecting on their day helps students develop metacognition (thinking about thinking…. What helped them as learners, what can they do better, etc) and build oral language skills.
This time can also be invaluable for promoting social and emotional development. In a closing meeting, teachers (and students) can acknowledge positive actions, reinforcing the behavior you want to see more of, while also encouraging students to set personal goals for improvement. It’s a moment for self-awareness and growth. These activities facilitate the transition from school to home, reducing anxiety and fostering social-emotional development. By engaging in conversations and reflection, teachers can gain valuable insights into their students’ learning, helping shape future instruction.
Incorporating social-emotional learning in closing meeting activities
Closing meeting activities provide an ideal opportunity to incorporate social-emotional learning (SEL) into the kindergarten classroom. For example, activities that promote gratitude, empathy, and self-expression can help students develop a sense of self-awareness and cultivate positive relationships with their peers. One way to incorporate SEL into closing meeting activities is by using prompts and questions that encourage students to reflect on their emotions and actions. For example, asking students to share a time when they felt proud or a time when they helped a classmate can promote self-awareness and empathy. Additionally, using interactive games that require cooperation and teamwork can help students develop important social skills such as communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. These activities can enhance the sense of community in the classroom and promote a positive and inclusive environment.
Closing Meeting Activities in your End of the Day Routines
One of the first choices you’ll make when implementing Closing Meetings is whether to have your students pack up before or after. There are pros and cons to both. If you pack up before, then the end of the day can truly be calm and fun, instead of stressed and chaotic. But you might run out of time to get to everyone or everything depending on how long the pack-up takes. If you do this, I recommend doing an activity that kids can jump into as they are done packing up.
If you pack up after the closing circle, you need to make sure you leave enough time for the children to pack up. It means you’ll have everyone’s focus and attention because children won’t be trickling in after packing up. But then you might lose the calm atmosphere once you send everyone to pack up (of course, this might make pack-up a bit calmer!). As with any classroom routine, the more you consistently do it, the better the children get at following the routine independently and successfully. So, if you are going to do a closing circle, try to be as consistent with it as possible (just like you would for morning meeting!)
Children often have difficulty recalling the details of their school day when asked by their families. The Closing Circle provides an ideal moment to address this issue. Encourage students to share the highlights of their day or their favorite moments. You might prompt them with questions or offer gentle reminders of the day’s activities, making it easier for them to share their experiences with their families at home. Some of my favorite questions to asks students are: What made you happy to day? What is one thing you learned today? And, how did you show kindness today?
End the Day with Fun
To build a strong classroom community, it’s essential to add in moments of fun and silliness into the daily routine. This is especially powerful when done at the end of the day during your closing circle. Just as you do during morning meetings, you can engage in playful activities and games that bring joy and laughter. These moments of fun not only help build classroom community but also create lasting, positive memories of the kindergarten experience.
Resources and materials for closing meeting activities in kindergarten
Want more support planning out your closing meeting activities? I have all of my favorite closing meeting activities and reflection share prompts in one convenient place! You can get them here.
Conclusion: The lasting impact of closing meeting activities in kindergarten
The Closing Circle is a magical way to close each school day in kindergarten. It offers a chance for reflection, memory sharing, and lots of community-building fun. Through the use of engaging and age-appropriate activities, teachers can create a positive and inclusive environment where students feel valued, heard, and supported. So, why not give closing meeting activities a try in your kindergarten classroom?
Let me know in the comments below how your closing circles are going for you and your students!