Kindergarten graduation is a fun way to end the year but I always felt strange calling it graduation and it always ended up feeling super stressful during an already stressful time of year. I loved the idea of celebrating the end of my students’ first year of elementary school as it is a momentous occasion. But calling it graduation didn’t feel right and added unnecessary pressure. So we decided to call our celebration Kinder-bration. It’s a fun name and it really is what we are doing, having a kindergarten celebration! Here are some tips to keep your kindergarten graduation (Kinder-bration) as stress-free as possible!
From the beginning, I wanted to keep our Kinder-bration as simple as possible. It’s the end of the year and everyone is excited and exhausted, so why add to that stress? Keep your ceremony short and sweet and your families will still love it!
What do you need for a simple Kinderbration?
Making graduation hats
Singing a song or reciting a poem
Students receiving diplomas
In the weeks leading up to Kinderbration, you’ll need to send home an invitation and snack sign up. You can go with a simple snack sign up with a “we get what we get” mentality or use a sign up website to have families sign up for donations. A simple menu might include cookies, pretzels, fruit tray, and water bottles or juice boxes.
If you don’t have the budget to purchase graduation hats (we certainly never did), have your students make hats using sentence strips and cut out clipart picture of a graduation cap. They aren’t fancy, but it works! Then students can decorate their “hats” however they’d like.
On the day of the ceremony, you’ll need to decorate. Here is where room moms can be super helpful! Room moms can help to decorate your graduation space with a few signs and groups of balloons. The Dollar Tree is a great place to get inexpensive plates and napkins in your school colors. Tip – look for graduation decorations on clearance after graduation season to save for next year.
Choose a song to learn…any song! The key is to sing the song throughout the year so your students are familiar with it. Each class can do their own to give you more stage time. Last year we sang “What I am” by Will.I.am and the Sesame Street crew. It was a song we sang almost daily during our closing meeting and so it was an easy choice. We didn’t need to learn any new lyrics or take extra class time away to teach a song. One year, I asked our music teacher to teach them a song and then we practiced that throughout the spring so they knew it when it was showtime. Both songs worked out well so there is no right answer for choosing a song. You could opt to teach your students a poem to recite, too.
After the song, have your principal or a teacher announce each student one by one to walk across the stage to get their completion certificates. It is a great photo opportunity and the kids love the experience of being handed that special piece of paper! These editable certificates and diplomas worked perfectly for us. Just be sure to print them ahead of time and give the announcer some keys for the pronunciation of names. You may want to laminate of frame (Dollar Tree has frames!) the diplomas to make them even more special.
The Slide Show
The slide show does not need to be a kindergarten year review. Remember the theme- keep things simple? If you aren’t a picture person who has tons of photos of each of your students, don’t panic! Here is an easy option – take a picture of each student holding a sign (I used a whiteboard) saying what they want to be when they grow up. Then put each picture in on a page template with the student’s name and year. Then create a slideshow to show parents. It’s so simple, but parents always cry. There is just something about seeing your kiddo with their future plans!
If you’d rather compile a slide show of pictures you took throughout the year, that works, too! I use PowerPoint to make my slideshow for ease of use. iMovie is another great tool to use to create a nice video. You can print the child’s page from the PowerPoint to give their parents, too. Not into creating your own slideshow? I have you covered!