This week, my daughter graduated from preschool. Before I had children, I scoffed at the idea of preschool graduations. Do we really need a graduation from everything? I remember thinking. But parenting is a marvelous opportunity to eat one’s own words in public, and now here I am, singing the praises of the preschool graduation.
Much like the first birthday celebration, preschool graduation is one of those occasions that is just as much a celebration for the parents as it is for the children. The toddler years have come and gone, and now we’re on the edge of big kid territory. We’ve all lived through potty training and various degrees of separation anxiety…but there’s so much more ahead.
In our house, the end of preschool also means the end of mom and dad dropping our daughter off at school. We’ve gone from full-time daycare to part-time preschool over the last five years of our girl’s life, but dropping her off in the place where she spends her time outside the house has been a constant. In the fall, she’ll board the school bus and drive off to kindergarten without us. I’m still not completely comfortable with this part of the preschool-to-kindergarten transition, but we’ll work through it together.
Preschool also means the end of co-oping in my daughter’s classroom. Co-oping isn’t for everyone, but it’s been such a wonderful experience to be in my daughter’s classroom every few weeks – especially since little ones aren’t always the best at giving a play-by-play of how they spent their day. It will be hard to not get to see what she’s doing in class myself next year, though my daughter has generously suggested I come to school and look at her through the fence at recess “so you won’t miss me.” Somehow I don’t think that will be quite the same.
Today we listened as 14 smart, confident preschoolers sang some of their favorite songs, wearing in the littlest white mortar boards I’ve seen. We clapped as they each received not just a diploma but a medal, something our girl has been excited about for weeks now. We celebrated this first graduation on the path to many more, and we celebrated making it through the first five years of parenting and our children’s introduction to school.
Happy graduation, preschoolers – and parents of preschoolers! Here’s to a summer of fun before the next part of our adventure begins.