Kindergarten Graduation (WTF)

Z's kindergarten graduation was last night. Her class has been practicing the ceremony every day for a month. Every morning and every evening for the last few weeks, Z has counted the days until the graduation, then the hours. She convinced me to buy her a white dress and rhinestone sandals. She learned songs with coordinated signs to sing with her class. She practiced for weeks for her important job of asking the audience to "Please stand for the pledge of allegiance." She's had multiple nightmares that she would get pulled off the stage for moving too much.

It's all a little much, in my opinion. The kid is 6.

The kid also has issues with transitions and anxiety as it is. Do we really need to heap on the expectations, to up the anticipation, any more than it already naturally is?

Instead of just allowing her to say goodbye to her friends and teachers, letting her get used to the idea of being at home for the summer and going to a new school in the fall, she's spent much of the last few weeks preparing for and worrying about this half hour ceremony that's for who? For her?

For us?

It brings out my pissy, protective mama bear. This isn't what she needs, I roar inside my head. Screw the kindergarten graduation ceremony. Screw having to practice standing still for an hour every day for weeks on end. Screw making her learn songs and speak in public and worry about whether she'll fidget too much and get taken off stage.

I know many people think that it's too congratulatory to have kindergarten graduations. It's not as if they actually accomplished anything! But I don't have that problem. I'm happy to congratulate Z for all she's learned in the past year, all the maturity she's gained through practice and hard work.

But these moments can be a big deal all on their own. We don't always need to add to it with pomp and group ceremonies. We would have celebrated it as a family. We would have made it a comfortably small big deal.

There can be meaningful celebration for 6 year olds without performance and pressure, right?

Well, at least there weren't any miniature caps and gowns.

And:  IT'S OVER.



Sarah said...

I was so very relieved that our school district doesn't do kindergarten graduations. I totally agree with what you said. It's just TOO MUCH for such little kids!

Stephanie said...

The title of this post ALONE kills me. Love.

Ann Wyse said...

Oh, I hear you on this - for us it was PreK graduation, which caused my son to breakdown in 30 minutes of crying the day before *graduation* because he had to "walk through the arch alone."

I really wonder what it says about us (as a society) when we insist on making such a big deal out of these things...? I don't remember anything like this from my childhood.

shannon said...

it does seem like the expectations of kids this young in school are WAY higher than when I was a kid. A friend told be yesterday that her son in grade 1 had to "talk in front of the class for 2 minutes" on a topic of his choice, that it was videos recorded and then compiled into a DVD with all the other kids and played in front of the whole class - kind of comparing each kid's speech. Talk about WTF!!
Home schooling here we come :)

twisterfish said...

Great title!

Our school doesn't do a K graduation (I'm so happy about that!) but I was a bit bummed they didn't do what we attended last year, which was the current K class welcoming the incoming class. That was their end of year activity where they were officially advanced to first grade as the new kids were welcomed into K. I liked the handing over of the torch kind of thing, without the pomp and circumstance.

This year he gets just an end of year party, and a hug from the teacher. We'll celebrate his accomplishment by going to the pool after school.

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