The end of the school year and kindergarten graduation is an exciting time. The skills students learn in kindergarten make a good foundation and increase the likelihood of success down the educational road. If there are any students that have to repeat kindergarten, be sensitive to the issue and contact the parents ahead of time to help decide whether the child will participate in the graduation ceremony. If the parents want the child to participate, instead of a diploma, present him with a certificate of achievement, listing the skills he has mastered.
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Near the end of the kindergarten year, assessment should take place. For the students to successfully move on to the first grade, they will need a mastery of certain skills. These criteria may vary depending on your school curriculum and guidelines. Some necessary skills include a student separating easily from his caregiver when being left at school, following the rules you have established for the class, taking turns and sharing with others, using scissors and standing quietly in line. He should also be able to hold a crayon correctly, hold a 15-minute attention span, know the letters and their sounds, recite shapes and the eight basic colours, know his numbers up to 50, write his first and last names, address and phone number.
Getting ready for the end of the year and the graduation ceremony requires preparation. Record assessment results on a report card for distribution at the graduation ceremony. Make decisions about the location and time of the ceremony and have students display some of their new skills by creating invitations for their parents. Preprint any necessary words on the invitation, leaving a blank space for them to sign their names, an area where they draw freely and one where they colour an object by staying in the lines. Purchase baseball caps with buttons on the top and make some tassels for an alternative to the traditional cap.
Remember that the attention span of the students is only 15 minutes. With family, friends and parents there, the excitement will shorten the attention span; keep the ceremony itself to no longer than 10 minutes to limit misbehavior. Call each student up, one at a time, and have the principal present his diploma to allow for individual special moments. Allow a few seconds for parents to snap a picture, and keep the line moving by offering an area off to the side where they can take additional pictures. Have volunteers take instant pictures for those parents that forgot to bring a camera. Incorporate traditional graduation activities of flipping the tassel and throwing the caps in the air.
End of the Year and Graduation Party
Start the party with a simple song the students sing for their parents. Then have a snack like milk and cookies. Pass out the end of the year assessments to the parents along with any student portfolios, and any information that is available about being in first grade in the fall. Leave ample time to pose for pictures with students and address any parent questions about the assessments.
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