Why Preschool Graduation Is a Big Deal

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It’s happening.

After five years, two of which were pandemic insanity, my youngest child is graduating preschool. He has been at his daycare/playschool/preschool/whatever you want to call it since he was one, when I dropped him, crying and clinging to my shirt, in the arms of his teacher. They told me he settled fairly quickly, quicker than I did at home, actually, and he’s been there ever since.  

A Notable Rite of Passage

Now he’s in “the big kids’ class” as he calls it, but all of that is coming to an end. As happy as we are to send the boy off to public school next year and the effect that will have on our commute and bank account, I can’t help but feel a bittersweetness about this rite of passage. I’m thankful that, at his school, we will hold a small graduation ceremony. This change deserves closure. 

As the resident drama mom, I’m helping organize a little play. Another mom is making some kind of costume/visual, and the teachers will present the kids with their preschool portfolios, full of art, scribblings, and photos from their years at school. 

I will absolutely cry my eyes out. 

Sometimes people make fun of little graduations, saying there are too many minor milestones and the passage of one school year into the next isn’t cause for ceremony, but when it comes to preschool, I think the acknowledgement is more than warranted.  

The Place They Learned To Be People

In these hallowed halls, tiny humans learned to be people, not creatures. They learned their ABCs, yes, but also how to talk through a disagreement, how to respect boundaries, how to share space and things. They learned how to count and sing, of course, but also tried new things, challenged themselves physically, and learned how to navigate interacting with humans who are different in some way, whether that be a kid with a disability or a kid who doesn’t want to play tag with them.  

When we celebrate these little dudes going off to the big elementary school, we are telling them we believe in their ability to problem solve, work as a team, and show love and respect to their peers and authority figures. 

Preschool Molded the Person He Is Today

My son was very nurtured in preschool. Without the guidance from his teachers and peers, he would not be the person he is today, a boy full of fire and snuggles, who loves to read about animals and sing while he plays, who is passionate about his friends and able to express his feelings. 

Graduation Day Conveys His Grownups Believe in Him

On preschool graduation day, I want him to be proud of all he has accomplished these last few years. I want him to hear in no uncertain terms that his grownups believe in him and are rooting for him to succeed in grade school next year. I want him to feel buoyed by our love and support and for that joy to carry him into the fall with the confidence and resilience to handle any challenges that come his way as he embarks on this next step in his life’s journey. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to these mini milestones, it’s important to celebrate what seems like a little win, because it might be a big one in disguise. 

Tags: Education, parenting, Developing Skills & Character

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Written By

Laura Wheatman Hill

Laura Wheatman Hill lives in Oregon with her two children. She has been published by CNN, Real Simple, Parents, and others. See Full Bio

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