How to Plan a Successful Preschool Graduation Ceremony (and why you should)

May 23, 2018 by

Preschool is the first step in a child’s educational career before entering public school. Though preschool isn’t required, many parents see the benefits in having their child attend a structured program prior to entering Kindergarten. Especially since more and more school districts are switching to full-day Kindergarten programs which can range anywhere from 7 to 9 hours in length.

When the preschool year comes to an end, many childcare centers present a small graduation ceremony. After all, this is quite a milestone in the lives of the children and parents. They are graduating from being small children to entering the public school system as “big kids”. There are so many fun and simple ways to plan a preschool graduation.

Choose a Theme

The first thing you need to do is choose a theme for your graduation. The sky’s the limit when it comes to this. You can choose themes that surround a particular story or author. The perfect example of this is using Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places We Will Go”. There are countless songs and decorations to surround this theme. It should also be something about the bright future that is ahead. You can do something related to that or stars. Give the kids sunglasses and decorate with star shaped balloons. You can also go with classic party themes such as a Hawaiian luau or circus theme. Your graduation theme will dictate the types of decorations you use, the songs you choose, and the class gift.

Pick Songs

The children usually perform songs during the graduation. These should be a mix of classic graduation songs and songs related to the theme of the ceremony. Generally, we break the children up into groups of three or four, depending on the class size. Those individual students will sing the theme related songs and the children will perform te graduation songs as a group. You’ll also want to choose a song for the children to enter the room with and one for them to exit. We often use the traditional graduation song for the student’s entrance but a more fun and upbeat song for their exit. This song can also be geared toward the graduation theme.


Practice makes perfect and for many of the kids, this graduation ceremony may be their first exposure at performing in front of people. Depending on how many guests each child is allowed to invite (which is often based on the size of the space you’re using), the crowd can seem a bit overwhelming. It’s important to practice the graduation ceremony and songs often. I suggest starting practice about 4 weeks prior to graduation day. Practice should include walking up onto the stage area, standing, and sitting. The great thing about practicing the songs is that these can be done in the classroom at any time. Whether it’s during transition periods or during small group play, the kids can practice learning the words and beat of each song. You’d be surprised at how quickly they pick up on musical lyrics.

Order Caps and Gowns

No graduation would be complete without caps and gowns for the children, though we normally opt for caps and sashes. The sashes are easier for the children to put on and off and they also allow mom and dad to show off the children’s fancy outfits. You can order these items from countless online companies in a wide range of colors and designs. Add to the fun by ordering diplomas as well. Each diploma can be personalized for the child with the year and the name of your school. These diplomas should be given to the child’s parents at the conclusion of the graduation. During the ceremony, use plain, white pieces of paper that are rolled with a ribbon as diplomas. These can be handed to the child by their teacher as they shake their hand. Just like at a real graduation! This is the perfect photo-op for mom.

Have a Party

A preschool graduation ceremony should really be relatively short and sweet. A small child’s attention span is short, as we know. They are excited to enter the room wearing their caps and showing off their outfits. They’re also excited to sing their songs and perform for their parents. Once they receive their diplomas, things should be just about over. Following the graduation ceremony, hold a short reception for the kids, family, and friends. This celebration can include light refreshments, mostly donated by parents. If you can, ask local businesses to donate food items. Most will be more than happy to oblige. At this time, you can also present the children with a small graduation gift. This gift is generally related to the graduation theme. A book, school supplies, or small toys or photo albums make great gifts.

Celebrate Their Success

Although graduating from preschool may not seem like a monumental moment, it really is. It’s the moment that a child says goodbye to preschool and embarks on their educational journey. It’s definitely something to be celebrated for both the students and parents. With a little time, creativity, and help from supportive parents, pulling together a preschool graduation is simple and well worth it.

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1 Comment

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    Sherry Gajos

    I liked what you said about how sashes are easier for children to put on and off. My son is preparing to graduate from school shortly and his school is making decisions on using graduation gowns or sashes. Thank you for the information about how sashes can be found online and be personalized with a wide range of designs and colors.

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