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Nooooooo Pre-School Graduation!....please

20 June 2017

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It's started! It's that time of year. I've blogged before, and here I go again! Messages on social media about graduations for 4 year olds has begun. Those who know me know, I'm not usually critical of other people's practice, but pre-school graduations... it's like drawing fingernails down a chalk board to me. I'd like to say sorry for criticising but I'm not! Please-don't do it! Not for me, for the children!

I'm not sure why we have started to do this ceremony for our smallest children. FB comments go from, "anyone got a good song?" "to anyone know how to make 40 children sit still and behave while they wait for their graduation certificate?" In fact, quite a few go on about children's behaviour during graduation ceremonies. The two go hand in hand. Too much waiting! Way too much sitting still, result, restless children who then may show irritability in its worst forms. As with all behaviour issues we should always think why? This ones a no brainer, they're bored! Or they're not playing as they would want to do.

Looking at Wikipedia, it defines graduation as "Graduation is getting a diploma or academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated with it, in which students become graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as graduands. The date of graduation is often called graduation day." I too have been through this process, and had no idea I was a graduand? I'm very proud of my degree, which I got just before I was 50. I did the research, I did the written work, I did the exam. Children have done a lot of learning, have they done a degree? Are they graduating? In our present Early Years climate we are listening to children's voices, taking their interests into account. I've never heard a child say "Please can we have graduation?" it's meaningless to them! Graduations are for grown ups. Children's learning is through exciting activities, not through academia...yet! Ranting bit over. Phew!

I do agree we should mark the end of the year, how would the children like to spend the day? What would the children enjoy? We have family fun days, crafts, cooking, sports, singing, a kind of help yourself to some fun family day ending it with a family picnic. We all are saying children should be at the centre of everything we do, and I really don't think graduation does that. It should go hand in hand with the values and ethos of your setting. So please, let's have FUN, lots of fun for all on the last day of term, especially for the children!