Why Kindergarten Graduation Ceremonies Matter

I will admit to being someone who has rolled my eyes so wildly at kindergarten graduation ceremonies that I may have done permanent damage to the connective tissue holding them into my head.

Tom Tom’s Kindergarten Graduation in 1965 by El Canager via Flickr

I mean, come on.

The little caps and gowns? The recordings of Pomp and Circumstance distorted over cafeteria intercom systems? Helicopter parents ready to take time off work, snap pictures, record video, and cheer for participation trophies for every single kid in the class?

Kindergarten Graduation 2011 by SFA Union via Flickr

It’s just kindergarten, people.

Everyone graduates from kindergarten, but it isn’t the kind of graduation you put on your résumé, and no one ever asks what your GPA was. You don’t send announcements to your relatives and get a watch, desk set, or dictionary from your grandparents.

It’s just ridiculous, right? Just mosey on over to the first grade classroom and try not to eat any paste already.

If you are nodding your head in agreement with me, then you need what I got a few years ago, which was a gut-check of my privilege.

Graduation isn’t an assumption for plenty of kids. In Houston, depending upon whose statistics you believe, from a quarter to half of all students who enter high school fail to graduate. Plenty of immigrants arrive with advanced degrees in math and sciences, but many others arrive with only a few years of primary school. What do we expect from their children? You know, those kids we all claim are our future?

That’s why kindergarten graduation ceremonies matter. That’s why chumps like me should get over our own selves and realize that for plenty of children and families, these ceremonies aren’t an assumption, they’re an aspiration.

This doesn’t mean that I want to go to any of these ceremonies, mind you, and my baser self might still chortle at the pictures of kids tricked out like medieval scholars, because, well, honestly:

Photo from ABC English School via Flickr

Just remember that rituals exist to reinforce our greatest dreams and keep our fears at bay, and that they may have very different meanings for different people.

And hey, pick on people your own size and save the eye rolls for the hipsters with ironic facial hair and hats oddly similar to Dr. Bubbles above, because they’re just asking for it.

Photo by misterbisson via Flickr

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3 Responses to Why Kindergarten Graduation Ceremonies Matter

  1. J. Goodall says:

    I recently had the same bile-inducing reintroduction to this life passage thanks to Facebook. I also quickly reminded myself that it’s practicing for the future, reinforcing what’s expected of you.

    It reminded me of young male monkeys humping each other. They have to learn to perform what’s expected of them somehow.

  2. Molly Momma says:

    Hm…I completely get what you’re saying, but have we set the bar too low? I’ve worked in those schools so I know for some, that may be the only graduation they get, but come on. http://educationmom.com/2012/06/02/graduation-for-fifth-grade-really/

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