My son loved his kindergarten year in Montessori. As the end of the year approached, he came home excited about having to make a speech for his kindergarten graduation. When I offered to help, he told me it was a ‘surprise’ and I’d hear it on the big day.
Like birthdays and the traditional Montessori “Walk Around the Sun", the passage from one plane of development to another can be marked by an intimate and informal tradition.
Montessori Education: Ideas for Preschool / Kindergarten GraduationThe passage from Children’s House to elementary, elementary to secondary, and secondary to beyond mark not only the passing of time, but the readiness of the child to advance to the next plane. Knowing that Dr. Montessori was respectful of the accomplishments of all children, handing out awards and certificates seems counter intuitive. Rather, this rite of passage should respectfully honor those graduates, welcoming them to their new adventure.
My son’s Montessori graduation involved the whole school community. It was held in the in the morning and everyone dressed up, with the graduates wearing navy blue shorts, white shirts and ties for the boys and sun dresses for the girls. They all looked so grown up! The children sat with their Montessori teachers. The younger children sang songs of friendship as the kindergarten class watched in quiet appreciation.
Then, it was time for the kindergarten class to take the stage. Each of the 16 children came forward to present a short, memorized paragraph about a Peacemaker: Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela. They, too, sang songs of peace and friendship. Then, they were each called to shake the hands of the director and their teachers.
When the ceremony was over, we were invited to stay for refreshments. Tables had been previously laid by the students and a simple tea was served by the graduates. What a wonderful culmination of those lessons in grace and courtesy!