Preschool and Kindergarten Graduation

Ten tiny little fingers
That always want to play,
They never stop exploring
The wonders of today.
Ten Tiny Little Fingers
I knew right from the start,
Would reach out for tomorrow
Yet always hold my heart.

This is my first year teaching. Of course, my first Pre-K graduation, not only are my students looking forward to graduation, but I am too. The theme at my center is Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. I chose Hey Diddle Diddle. We have been practicing for just about days now and my students know the rhyme already! Everyone will wear blue shorts and we’re going to create our own homemade T-shirts. Each child is a specific character. They will paint on T-shirts and wear them for the ceremony. We are even making our own background scene for the performance, but I still have to think about that a bit.

Children love to perform and be the center of attention. I hold a graduation ceremony where the children perform different songs and skills they have learned throughout the year. The children walk to the stage in pairs to the Pomp and Circumstance song. The director then gives a Welcome speech. We then proceed by singing “My Name is” by Stephen Fite. The children recite their full names on cue. (This is really cute since some of the children have trouble saying their full names – it also gives each child a chance to have a part that is their own.) We then sing the “Seven days in a week” – also by Stephen Fite. It’s a rock version – better than the worn out version “There are seven days in a week” The children sing this but also use sign language for each day. Then we sing and sign the alphabet. (Sign Language isn’t only a language to learn but it is also a great exercise for fine motor control.) We recite a poem that I made up for the numbers – after it is recited all the children count to ten in English, Spanish, French, and Sign Language. The Children then are seated (on stage) and wait for their name to be called for their Pre-Kindergarten diplomas. They do this as Kenny Loggins “Return to Pooh Corner” plays. The children walk to get their diplomas and also get a yellow carnation – which they give to their parents. The graduating class is announced, the children move their tassels to the other side. We invite parents to come to the stage to dance with the children to the “Monkeys” There is a line in the song that says “We’re the young generation” and after that line we yell “It’s Graduation Day!” It’s cute and simple – and parents love it!

I have done many different graduation programs over the past years I have taught kindergarten. Many are already listed here – themed programs, the year in review, favorite songs, etc. We have classes now and have limited our “large group time” to a minimum as our gymnasium is so hot at night We gather for a few songs there, present perfect attendance awards, recognize outstanding volunteers, our education assistant, etc. Then we return to our classrooms where our students receive diplomas and “Kindergarten Star Student” awards. These are awards that we select specifically for each student. (Examples: block builders, math whiz, best printing, etc) We present our parents with a treat that we have prepared for them. I wrote a poem to accompany this. If you are interested, email me and I’ll be happy to send it to you. We have made simple mints, handprint cookies, and heart in hand cookies in the past for this treat. Then the parents leave and the students and teachers have a sleep-over in the gym. We have centers, the principal comes to read our bed-time story, and the children HOPEFULLY fall asleep watching a Disney movie. This has become a tradition in our school and everyone gets excited about it.

This year we are doing the circus as our end of the year theme. Each board in the room has a different circus train, and of course the big top. As a part of our graduation, we will “sell” tickets to the parents and friends of the children, and invite them for hotdogs, cotton candy, balloons and entertainment by their children. The teachers of the room plan on dressing as ring leaders and we have asked each child to come dressed as a clown or a circus animal for a day at the circus!