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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wahoooooo, the graduation party was a huge success!

Well I can hardly believe that Ro and Ree aren’t kindergarteners any longer! On Thursday our tiny babes graduated in a flurry of pomp and circumstance and we are so proud (and a little weepy!):

Our school doesn’t do a kindergarten graduation, (and you know we like any excuse to have a party around here), so we invited the whole class and their families over to our house for a graduation ceremony and party. Two wonderful class moms volunteered to help (thank you!!!) and boy did we all have fun with it. If anyone is thinking of having a graduation party next year – do it! Here are some easy details you can replicate:

Decorations: I went with primary colors and a school theme (got the idea  here) and picked up a variety of tableware in red, yellow, green, and blue from the local dollar store. Then played up the school look with bulletin board borders taped to the edges of tables (also from the dollar store), mini chalkboards that said things like “J is for jello” “D is for drink,” brightly colored metal pails tied with helium balloons, spiral hanging school cutouts, and pencil cutouts sprinkled on the tables:DSC_6236LRDSC_6267LRDSC_6251LR DSC_6256LRDSC_6241LR

Caps and Pins: Each graduate was given a white grad cap and a “Kindergarten Graduate” star pin (a class mom made the pins) to wear as they entered the party:DSC_6230LR

DSC_6233LRFood: We had bagel bites (B is for bites), mini PJB sandwiches (P is for PBJ), grad-cap cupcakes that a class mom made (C is for cupcake), crayon pretzel treats that I made, and finger foods galore (each parent brought something to share – that’s what went on all of the tables):DSC_6234LRDSC_6271LR

Ceremony: I wrote a brief ceremony that included all of the kids, their beloved teacher, and some of the parents. We didn’t have any practice time before the real ceremony, but I just made sure to give lots of cues: “Now it’s time to do the poem you practiced at home...” “When you hear your parents cheer you get to throw your hats in the air” and that sort of thing. It turned out better than I could have imagined and was SO FUN! Here’s our program, if anyone wants to host your own graduation:

1. Kids march around yard to Pomp and Circumstance music (oh the cuteness!!): marchDSC_6276LR
(yes, Ro and Ree kicked their shoes off the second they got home and did the whole ceremony in bare feet)

2. Welcome students and families

3. A few words from our teacher

DSC_6294LR4. Kids perform graduation song (I rewrote a kindergarten graduation song from the internet – made it wayyyy more simple - it was sung to Love and Marriage. The kindergarten teacher was such a sweetheart and agreed to teach it to the class.)
Here are the words we used:

Time to say goodbye to Kin-der-gar-ten
Look at the progress we've made
So now it's time to go to (PAUSE) first grade!

Time to say goodbye to Kin-der-gar-ten
Look at the progress we've made
So now it's time to go to (PAUSE) first grade!

Reading, Writing, Math and Science
Oh (PAUSE, PAUSE) how we love it
Field trips and lots of messy projects too
We're flying through it!

Time to say good-bye to Kin-der-gar-ten
Look at the progress we've made
So now it’s time--
So now it’s time--
So now it’s time to go to (PAUSE) first grade!

5. Kids say graduation poem together (I sent this poem home with the kids to practice and had the words on a big poster that they could read during the program). The words were:

Do you remember last fall?
I was only this tall *
Now look at me I am way up here **
and my I've learned a lot this year.
In fact they think I'm really great,
that's why I get to graduate! ***

* hold hand at chest height
** put a hand on top of your head
*** throw both hands in the air

6. A parent reads the ABC End of Year poem, and each student holds up his/her letter when it’s called out. (A class mom made the cool alphabet signs.)


A is for the alphabet which you know how to say.
B is for busy bodies - at work and at play.
C is for colors - red, yellow, blue, and green.
D is for drawing pictures, the best we’ve ever seen.
E is for exercise to keep your bodies strong.
F is for the fun you’ve had as you have gone along.
G is for the good friends you made throughout the year.
H is for happy faces, filled with love and cheer.
I is for imagination used at every turn.
J is for good jobs and the praises you have earned.
K is for kindergartners - hip, hip, hooray!
L is for learning - more and more each day.
M is for minding and showing our respect.
N is for numbers. One, two, three, correct?
O is for the obstacles you learned to overcome.
P is for puppets and for playing rhythms on a drum.
Q is for all the questions you’ve asked throughout the year.
R is for reading stories, even those that bring a tear.
S is for different snacks, several you have tried.
T is for talking.  It's not to be denied.
U is for unusual; it fits some things you’ve done.
V is for volunteers - parents and everyone!
W is for the world of words you’ve barely dipped into.
X is for extra special kids - it's him, it's her, it's you.
Y is for yes, it has been a great year!
Z is for first-grade zest. You’re ready, have no fear!


7. A parent reads the poem Great Expectations:

Great Expectations (Author Unknown)

It's time to say good-bye.
Your school year has come to an end.
You’ve made more cherished memories
And many more new friends.

As parents, we’ve watched our children learn and grow
And change from day to day
We hope that all the things we've done
Have helped in some small way.

So it's with happy memories
We say goodbye to Kindergarten,
With great hope and expectations.
For what next year holds in store.

8. Diplomas. Each student’s name is called and he/she gets a diploma and shakes the teacher’s hand. (A class mom got our diplomas at a local teacher’s store, but you can also find inexpensive packs on the internet.)

9. Special thank you, flowers, and class gift presented to teacher. (A kindergarten student memorized an adorable little speech and presented this.)

10. Please give a cheer for the kindergarten class of 2011 (kids toss hats in air when parents cheer):caps

What a wonderful experience from start to finish – we’re still grinning! And we are so grateful to our awesome kindergarten teacher for taking part in this crazy idea, for all of the smiling parents and kiddos who came and happily participated and brought food (over 85 people, wow!), and to the wonderful class moms and Wela and BobBob who helped with the event.

What a great sendoff to summer!


  1. Anonymous6/11/2011

    How fun! The kids will remember this forever. What a wonderful way to honor their first year in school and get them ready for the rest of elementary school.

    PS. I was eying those cupcakes with the chocolate caps on them....Yum!

  2. I LOVE IT!!! They all looked so cute and so adorable. I loved all the pics and the video. LOL that was cute. This is something they will remember. You all did a wonderful job and I am so stealing some of the ideas thanks. The treats all looked yummy. I do love the crayons. Those I am going to have to make.
    Thanks for sharing, now relax and enjoy the rest of your summer.

  3. The teacher came? On a weekend? I hope she doesn't have her own kids... and didn't feel pressured... What a grouch hey? Just really missing my kids on my 3rd weekend of report cards!!!

  4. OH MY GOSH! I'm just blown away. This was a fantastic feat of strength! I love all of the ideas, thank you so much for sharing. I can't imagine how grateful those teachers must have been for you to have organized all of this! The only thing they did was teach the kids a song? Our teachers would have danced a jig in gratitude. You just made so many parents so happy. Everyone wants to watch a K graduation, and it's just so wonderful that you threw such a lovely ceremony. Those kids will remember your love and generosity forever. 1st Grade here we come! (Sara gets her OWN desk, and her own "locker"...it's all the talk here).

  5. wow! that is awesome! what a great idea! wish i had time to throw this together for my class.

  6. Love it! Thanks for the idea!

  7. You are a great mom! What a special day you created for your girls and their classmates. I'm so impressed!!!

  8. Kristina6/12/2011

    WOO HOOO!! So much fun! Congrats to Ro and Ree and Mama too!! Who can believe we have 1st graders now!

  9. Samantha: The graduation was a Thursday, right after our early day of school. School got out for the day, and everyone walked over to our house. Oh my gosh we would never ask a teacher to do anything on a weekend (except maybe drink a mimosa, heh!).

  10. Mmmmm... I'm betting the Salsa house will be party central for many years to come! M3,that was an amazing celebration you put together and hosted. Everyone will always remember it with smiles and tears. You made a wonderful memory!

  11. Anonymous6/12/2011

    Your generosity, in giving for the class and in sharing your ideas, is admirable.

  12. wow...that is the best party ever.

  13. Ok, I think you should be a teacher or maybe a party coordinator. Wonderful job! I wanted to do something for Emma but my backyard is still under-construction, very sad.
    This is the first time I could post something, somehow it wasn't letting me anymore.

  14. You are leading in the "Mom of the Year" Award ya know!! Seriously, this rocks!

  15. Anonymous6/12/2011

    I second the "Mom of the Year!" Holy cow what an undertaking! I'm not sure I would be bold enough to have more than 20 kindergarteners and their parents over much less graduate them. You rock!

  16. WOW. You are A.mazing. You have set the bar crazy high, too :)
    What a fantastic day for your girls - I am sure they'll never forget it!

  17. Anonymous6/12/2011

    What a fantastic day you guys must have had! Way to go Mom's and Dad's on making the kiddo's exit from Kindergarten so grand!! Love the party theme and ideas!!!

    Love yall,
    Cousin Tammy

  18. Okay phew! I agree with everyone else then!!!

  19. Another fabu party at the Salsa home, wow!! Very fun and I'm sure it will be long remembered. Congrats to the graduates.

  20. This is just awesome! What's your address again? I'm moving to your neighborhood ; ) . This was a great idea!

  21. What an insanely awesome event! I would never have the courage to even dream of planning something like that in my yard (not that it could even hold that many people!). I wan wondering where everyone would park, but you did mention folks were able to walk over. So happy the weather cooperated for your amazing celebration!

  22. Woohoo!!! What an AWESOME idea and I know something the kiddos and their parents won't forget for a very, very long time. Probably never!!

    Congrats Ro and Ree!! Welcome to Grade 1!!!

  23. Anonymous6/13/2011

    All those parents are crossing their fingers so that their kid can be in your daughters' class again next year.

  24. Amazing M3!! Looks like a great memory made for all!! Those families will remember that day forever!


  26. Completely blown away M3!!! You went above and beyond..... you left no detail untouched!! I think you will definitely be getting the "classroom mom" vote by all of the girls classmates next year!!

    Seriously, if you are looking for something to keep you busy while the girls are in school. Party Planner Extraordinaire:))) Love the photos and the video....thanks for sharing.

    Also wanted to say thanks for your travel advice. Now I know a few things I can do next time I have to leave:) The girls loved your suggestions, it was just a little too late since I was already in the air when that posted!

    Have a great week.....enjoy your summer~



  27. Wow. What an amazing party! You are such an inspiration. Love all the details. Especially the cap and gowns. So so cute.

  28. Anonymous6/28/2011

    Awesome party (as usual!)!! Now that they have completed kindergarten, what are your thoughts on sending them per cut-off guidelines rather than holding them back? We sent our young daughter on time too and she just completed 1st grade but sometimes I still wonder about what if we held her back like the majority of parents these days?

  29. Hi, we're going to send them to 1st grade. (Our cutoff is Dec 2) We went back and forth for the kindergarten decision, then finally decided to send them as 4-turning-5-year-olds and keep a watchful eye on everything. Who knows though, really! We might regret it later or we might think everything turned out fine. No telling. I know they'll be fine academically, I was just worried about socially.

  30. Anonymous6/28/2011

    Hi M3,
    Yes, academically my daughter is in general doing fine. Socially I do see a difference between the girls who are almost a year older than her (held back or barely missed cut-off). Have you noticed any differences or does it help having them together? Sometimes my daughters say they wish they were twins so they could be together.

  31. Hi anon,

    It's a hard one, that's for sure. And I think as a parent you ALWAYS worry that you've made the wrong choice. Yes I do see a difference between Ro and Ree and the kiddos who were held back, but I'm not sure it's a bad difference. Hard to explain in writing I guess. We had a really young kindergarten class this year, with 5 birthdays after the girls', which surprised me and probably changes the way I look at it. And sometimes it seemed like the couple of older kids felt a little left out or bored or something. Anyhow, Ro and Ree were so ready academically (and can be stunningly "creative" - and not in a good way - when they're bored) that we were afraid to hold them back a year for fear that they'd be bored out of their minds and use their twin powers to create chaos in the classroom. Again, who knows if we were right or wrong - the social factor was/is the one I'm watching. Being twins does give them a little extra confidence, and maybe if there were only one of them we would have chosen an extra year of confidence-building. Again, hard to say. We had a little extra insight because my mom ran kindergarten admission testing for a local school for 20 years. And she told us emphatically (over and over, heh heh) that the girls were ready in all areas. You know I still worried though.

    PS: What's your name by the way? I feel funny typing a big response to "anon". :-)

  32. Anonymous6/28/2011

    Hi M3 - thanks for the replies! Sorry, keep forgetting to type my name - Dawn. Never imagined this was something I'd worry about (since I was always the youngest in my class). On the flip side my other daughter's birthday puts her more in the middle of the pack and being the 2nd child, she was extremely bored her first year of pre-school - we'll see what happens going forward. Enjoy your summer, Dawn