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Military Families: Easing the Transition of Moving Schools

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letter writing 1My children have experienced many tearful goodbyes with school friends who move across the world due to a military deployment. While heart wrenching, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the military child who is moving and adapting to a new school, new home, and new surroundings.

This blog is dedicated to the brave military families who serve our country. It offers just a few ideas to ease the transition for a child who is affected by a military deployment.

Helpful Sites

Moving Schools Again? Get Help Transitioning Military Kids to a New School: In this article, military families share their ideas for helping children adapt to a new school, including ways to use your base and ideas for nurturing new friendships.

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC): This nonprofit organization focuses on “ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility and family separation.” It provides many resources for parents, including guides such as: A Military Parent’s Guide to School Policies and Transitions.

The Educator’s Guide to the Military Child During Deployment: The booklet for teachers provides information about phases of deployment, impacts on students, intervention strategies for elementary, middle, and high schools, and additional website links.

Books to Read

The Monterey public library has created a short guide of books to read called “Military Families: Saying Goodbye and Hello.”

Books for Younger Readers

  • My Red Balloon, by Eve Bunting
  • Pilot Mom, by Kathleen Benner Duble
  • Daddy, You’re My Hero! by Michelle Ferguson-Cohen
  • Captain Cat, by Syd Hoff
  • Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom, by Lisa Tucker McElroy
  • My Father Is in the Navy, by Robin McKinley
  • When Dad’s at Sea, by Mindy L. Pelton
  • The Impossible Patriotism Project, by Linda Skeers
  • While You Are Away, by Eileen Spinelli
  • Red, White, and Blue Good-bye, by Sarah Wones Tomp

Books for Older Readers

  • My Hero: Military Kids Write About Their Moms and Dads, by Allen Appel
  • Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children, by Deborah Ellis
  • Piper Reed, the Great Gypsy, by Kimberly Willis Holt
  • Piper Reed, Navy Brat, by Kimberly Willis Holt
  • 100 Days and 99 Nights, by Alan Madison
  • Soldier Mom, by Alice Mead
  • I Live at a Military Post, by Stasia Ward Kehoe
  • All Those Secrets of the World, by Jane Yolen

Activities to Say Good-Bye

Find a memorable way to say good-bye! For example, classmates can create a simple keepsake for the moving student or sign a large card. As a class project or individual activity, sending a postcard to a classmate who has moved is a simple way to keep in touch. Here are a few ideas:

If you have other ideas for helping children through a military move, please share in the comments section.


Image of Theresa WoolerTheresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer and homeschool educator, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.

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