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Wednesday
Jul112012

She'sWrite: Preschool Graduation - More than Just Poop & Circumstance?

I have crossed another milestone as a parent. My firstborn has graduated ... From preschool.

I remember before I had kids, I thought, sheesh, what’s up with all of these graduations? Preschool, Kindergarten, sixth grade, eighth grade and finally high school??? I have had two graduations: High school and college.

But then I got the notice that our daycare was having a ceremony for all the kids who were going to start kindergarten in the fall. I stopped rolling my eyes about preschool graduation and now, I found myself getting excited.

Hubby got off work early so we could attend the Friday evening event.  Logan was so excited, he could not stop jumping up and down. The school even gave him a red cap and gown to borrow, which was cute. Silly? Yes, but really very cute.

Then the kids put on a program for the parents. Of course this meant all of us parents had to squat on those impossibly small kiddie chairs. Seriously, why bother offering us a place to sit when only half of my butt fits on the seat?

I digress. Back to the program … All of the songs I’ve been hearing around the house about Johnny working with hammers or apples and bananas or sharks and dinosaurs, now I got to hear them in stereo and with the appropriate hand movements.

Then the highlight came. Dance music started thumping from the boombox and the kids broke into a choreographed jam session. I was surprised and those kids worked it out, even doing a little Kid n’ Play action. There was a segment where each kid came to the front and did their favorite dance move. Logan’s was a modified Batusi … Think Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction but instead of a “V” over her eyes, Logan’s index fingers do a dramatic wipe right above his eyebrows. What really makes this move spectacular is the serious-as-a-heart-attack look on his face.

Finally each child’s name was called and they were presented with a teacher-made ribbon that described their personality. Logan got “Most Excitable” since, well,  he’s always so excited.

Then we all had cake and snacks. I thought it was a fun, sweet program. All the graduates were beaming with pride, as were their parents. Present company included.

A few days later I was talking with a mom of two, both of whom are in college, and she said all the pomp and circumstance made at the high school graduation should instead be made at the younger graduations. Her reasoning was that high schoolers didn’t really care about the graduation, they just wanted to be done with high school. But the little kids, they revel in these kinds of celebrations and it pays off in dividends.

A couple days after that conversation a friend of mine started an interesting Facebook exchange with his viewpoint that daycare graduations cheapen the accomplishments of the legitimate graduations down the road.

Two different viewpoints, but I can see the validity in both.

Yes, we should celebrate accomplishments of young people to instill confidence. But where is the line? When do supportive behaviors go from building self-esteem and then cross over into coddling? Is it the miniature caps and gowns? Or is it the 7-year-olds playing in a soccer program where everyone is still a “winner?"

I suspect, like most parenting issues, it’s different for every family and every child. What do you think?

She’sWrite is the pen name of a freelance journalist who lives in the northwest suburbs with her endearing Norwegian husband, her baby boy and 4-year-old son. On Go West Young Mom, you’ll regularly find her musings about being a mom, career woman, wife and friend, and the crazy juggling act in this curious circus that we call life. She publishes several times a week on her own blog, also called She'sWrite, and you can subscribe there to get email notifications of new posts.

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