No Preschool Graduation ceremony will every run completely smoothly – your performers are preschoolers, they’re bound to do something unpredictable, and sometimes these unpredictable moments are the most endearing parts of the entire ceremony. There are still some things that you can do to help your students prepare and ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past;
- Keep it short – the shorter your ceremony is, the less opportunity for something to go wrong. You want it to be meaningful without being boring, while your audience is probably happy to sit and listen, your students will only pay attention for so long. Try not to go longer than your typical circle time, this way you know that your children will be able to handle it.
- Practice, practice, practice – In order for the children to do what they need to do, they need to know the exact order of events, and practice them enough times that they don’t have to think about them too much. Ideally, you should practice at least once every day for the entire week leading up to the ceremony so that it all becomes muscle memory. If at all possible at least a couple of your practice sessions should be in the same space that you will use for the ceremony, especially if it will not be in your classroom. This way the children will have time to get used to a different space, and it won’t throw them off when you do the real thing.
- Identify where each child will sit or stand – If you are going to have the children sit or stand in a specific order, use their photos to mark these spots and then have them stand on their own picture, or sit in the chair with their picture. This will give the children a visual cue of where they need to be, and help them stay there.
- Use other visual cues whenever possible – If you plan on having the children walk or move anywhere, use masking tape to mark arrows on the floor showing them the way. If you want them to stop in a certain place so that their families can take a photo, put a stop sign on the floor right where they should stop. These will help the children remember what they are supposed to do, even when in front of a large crowd.
- Talk to them about who is coming – Explain that there will be a lot of people there to watch them graduate, but all of these people are coming because they are proud of them and excited to watch them get their diplomas. Make sure that they know that these are all people who love them, which will help prepare them for the crowd while calming their nerves and fears of being in front of such a large group.