I have had a preschool graduation for years. In the best interest of the children, we have simplified the program. We still have children make their own caps by drawing a picture with markers on a square of posterboard. Families are invited to attend and join in refreshments when the program ends. The children sing songs from the school year, then receive a ‘diploma’ from their teacher. Our program for the day is a keepsake which includes answers to the question: When I grow up I will be……..We all love this special way to say goodbye to these precious children who have come into our lives at such an impressionable time! Teachers in my program also collect samples of work all year to include in a special “Me Book” which is given to families at the end of the school year.
I know letters, I know shapes. Know that purple stands for grapes. I know red and white and blue. I know green and yellow, too. I’ve made friends and know how to share. What is wrong and what is fair. Know what policemen and mailmen do. Firemen and nurses too. I’m an artist, I can paint. I try hard not say ain’t. I have rhythm, I know sounds. I’ve had ups and I’ve downs. I’ve been quiet, I have wiggled. …..worked all year as you can see. There now , aren’t you proud of me.
We give you back your child, the same child you entrusted to our care last fall. We give her back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible and more mature than she was then. Although she would have attained this in spite of us, it has been our happy privilege to watch her personality unfold day by day and marvel at each new achievement, each new success, each new expansion of self. We give her back reluctantly; for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other and shall always retain a little part of each other. We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned and enriched our lives together this year. We wish it could go on indefinitely, but give her back we must. Take care of her for she is precious and only one of a kind. Remember that we shall always be interested in your child and her destiny, wherever she goes, whatever she does, whoever she becomes. Her joys and sorrows we will be happy to share. Please call on us if there is anything further we can ever do for her.
As with all preschool graduations, ours is a very emotional time, a time to say good-bye to the children we have watched grow an develop and to their parents. We are a program designed primarily for children with developmental disabilities but also have a population of about % children who are typically developing. For some of the children, this may be their only graduation. I pick a theme based on a song or idea with our decorations, slide show, etc. all tied into that theme. Over the Rainbow with the Wizard of Oz theme and The Circle of Life with the Lion King were probably some of the easiest. The slide show always brings tears as a variety of music plays through the baby years (songs such as Itty Bitty Pretty One), messy times (Wild Thing), parties (Celebrate) and special events (Police–Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This)–well you get the picture. We order our caps and gowns from Thomas Apparel (they have quality gowns at affordable prices–we have some, and the parents can order if they want one to keep). The awards and speech is based on the special milestones and development the children have made and/or how they assisted others who needed their help. I never get through it without tears–watching these babies take their first steps whether by feet or power chair and say their first words, whether by voice or sign, then to see the progress each and everyone has made is wonderful for staff and family alike. Our graduations have become legendary and are attended by friends and people in our community each year.
Graduation Song (Mary Had a Little Lamb)
We are here to graduate, graduate, graduate. We are here to graduate – on this special day. Patti and Daylene are here to graduate, graduate, graduate (fill in with students names. Students stand when their names are mentioned.) Patti and Daylene graduate on this special day.