As a kindergarten teacher, the end of the school year can be a bittersweet occasion as you watch your students prepare to leave your classroom and move on to first grade. Host a graduation ceremony the kids are sure to remember fondly that also helps to get them excited for first grade. A well-planned ceremony is a chance for your students to show off to their parents and loved ones as kindergarteners for the last time.
Diplomas and Awards
Present each child with a diploma showing she has graduated from kindergarten. Sign each diploma, and get the principal to sign each as well. Roll each diploma into a tube, then tie it closed with a ribbon. Along with diplomas, consider giving each child a simple award. Glue a cardboard circle to the top of a ribbon, then attach a pin backing to the circle. Write a message on each circle that applies to the student, such as “#1 Reader” or “Most Helpful.” Give an award ribbon to each graduate so no one feels left out.
Host a Presentation
Kindergartners rarely sit still through long presentations if they have to listen to them, but they enjoy performing in their own. Have the children recite a graduation poem or sing a graduation-themed song. If you are having trouble coming up with a song or poem, create an acrostic poem. Use the first letters of the word kindergarten, first grade or the school name as the first letter in each sentence of a graduation-inspired recital. Each child recites one line from the poem.
Give each child an inexpensive gift to mark this special day. An inexpensive piggy bank to hold the beginnings of his college fund is a practical choice. Or give each child a first-grade reading-level book to help sharpen his reading skills over the summer months. Sweet treats are inexpensive and appreciated. A class photo in an inexpensive frame makes a memento that both the child and the parents appreciate. A memory book showing off some of the artwork and crafts he created during the summer offers a personalized gift he can use to show off his creations to family members.
Use a Theme
If you are having trouble coming up with inspiration, consider a graduation theme to help guide your choice on songs and decorations. Use a Western theme and have the kids sing “Happy Trails” after the ceremony as their goodbye to kindergarten. Use cowboy-themed decorations for the ceremony. Countdown to first grade is another simple theme. Decorate the room with number-themed items, then have the kids count down to first grade. When they reach the end of the countdown, have them throw their hats in the air and cheer.
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