Start talking to the Year 6’s early about future plans; build the hype and excitement, as early as you can, from about Feb/March onwards, but being aware of the crunch point in April/May when they prepare for and sit their SATs tests.
Ask the school for an opportunity to go in and talk to the Year 6 class and tell them about the idea. Make sure you keep the Y6 teachers and the head in the loop throughout the process.
Get them talking about parties, what they enjoy doing, what their favourite foods are, their music tastes, games they like to play.
You could do a post-it exercise asking what they are excited or nervous about – ask them to stick their post-its on a board and then pray for them.
Play a game with them, such as a tie tying challenge (in preparation for secondary school and potential uniform changes!), or if they need calming down try the Time Challenge game. Simply ask all children to stand (hide any clocks/watches) and say a time such as 1 minute 26 seconds, then ask them to sit down when they think that time is reached after you say “Go!” – it quietens a group down a treat!
Give out the Party Feedback sheet, downloadable here Your Party Worksheet for Y6 to get ideas directly from the horses’ mouths, to inform your planning and to ensure you give them what they want, not what you think they might like.
Nearer the end of the year, put up posters (Link: customisable poster) and if your school has a facebook or other social media network for parents, see if you can get onto it. This will provide you with a brilliantly interactive form of promotion. You can keep on adding reminders, right through the Summer too and in the early stages you can ask for ideas, comments, thoughts and feedback, before and after the event. If you are going forward with a regular youth group, Facebook is a great way to communicate with parents. If you need help or advice on using social media, please get in touch with me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t be afraid to talk to the Year 6’s during whole school assemblies and tell them about the Reunion Party sooner rather than later. This could give them a real sense of “specialness” and build the anticipation for the other year groups for when it will be their turn in the future…
Talking to them about this may also have the effect of lessening their fears of their post-Primary school future, knowing that there will be at least one day after they have left school, when they can see their old friends and return to a “safe place”. We can underestimate what an unsettling time it can be and sometimes it’s combined with hormonal changes too. As churches we can offer a long term pastoral service to these vulnerable young people.