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Leavers Service- Graduation Style

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hi all hoping you can help me iron out some questions/ideas please. This year for our Leavers Service I suggested at staff meeting having a graduation style service- the children who will be leaving for school dressing up in very simple outfits and taking pride of place in our service.

We will still have a story with songs to 'perform' for the parents and families which we are also struggling to decide upon- any ideas what works really well? We would like something we can include more action and participation for the children as they get bored easily otherwise but something that the parents will enjoy- sometimes we've done a service before and it was over very quickly. We have about 8 children leaving for school with a total of 21 children on our village hall stage from 2 1/2 yrs

We've never done a graduation before and the only 'research' I can seem to find is from America and not quite up our street, so was wondering if any of you hold a similar type event for celebrating the children leaving your pre-school and what tips/suggestions/advice you could give as to how you organise it and plan?

We plan on the children making their own motar board type hats with the other children creating a special party hat. One idea for a graduation gown that wont cost the earth was to wear an adult sized shirt back to front, has anyone tried this? The other children will be wearing party dresses/favourite outfit so it is still a special day for everyone to look forward to, with nibbles for all after the 'ceremony' so we can celebrate the children leaving and have a nice last morning with the other children before summer holidays

Hope I'm making sense with all this! Thank you!

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HI there

we do a graduation every year and each year it gets bigger with ideas!! However, we started off very simply. Like you we made mortar boards with crepe paper band and tassel to go round the edge related to the colour group they are in. Each child wore their special outfit so in the beginning we didn't worry about gowns as the dresses and 'suits' the children came in were special enough and the mortar boards just made it that bit more like graduation. Now we have made gowns- I went down to the market and got a load of very cheap black material and a few mums and grandparents and even a few dinner ladies helped make the gowns (these we use every year now)

We take our own graduation photos in to show children what it means to us and how important an event it is in our lives.

We then take a photo of each child in cap and gown with their 'degree' (1st class of course!) and laminate this with a special message on and present it at the graduation. Playing behind we have a simple power point with the photo displayed as they come up to receive their certificate,

We then do a slide show with uplifting music (you just gotta tug at the heart strings) set to lots of photos that we have taken over the year. A couple of years ago we introduced a balloon arch which acts as a lovely backdrop. I was surprised that our local florist did these I we managed to broker a great price. We have had two big bunches of hellium balloons to either side of the 'stage' before too.

We have now moved into a graduation disco at the end of the day which proves popular.


I can highly recommend 'Little Rabbit Foo Foo' by Michael Rosen as a story to involve all. Bands of wriggly worms, goblins, field mice etc, not to mention said naughty bunny and the good fairy (we had 4 of these one for each colour group). We managed to get hold of one of those giant blow up hammers and the children loved the bit were they had to knock the worms, mice etc on the head!!


If you can do the graduation I would say go for it, It is such a lovely way to finish the year, big or small it will be a memory that children, parents and staff will share forever!

Ooh and at the end of the year we ask parents to provide us with a pen drive so that we can transfer all their child's photos from the year (each child's folder on the PC contains photos only of themselves) we have deliberately done this so that we don't have to worry about permission from others.

Good Luck and have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do :o

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We do something very similar to Apple. We have the children who are graduating in a separate room to the waiting parents and when everyone is ready we file them in to the tune of Simply the Best, we have a reserved seating area for them; this is usually when the tears start!!

We have a little speech, photos with their graduation certificate etc. Outside for more photos and the obligatory cap throwing; we also invite the press in.

Then back inside for tea. I order some graduation partyware too

Oh and make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand!

(we are part of a chain so we ordered little caps and gowns that we all use every year)

Do it, you'll love it!!

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Yep, LittleRabbit Foo Foo is an absolute favourite with our kids.

Last year our leavers rewrote Going on a Bear Hunt as Going on a Treasure Hunt. It was great fun. I then had slideshows of the last year and then our leavers from starting pre-school to leaving with music. We then presented each leaver with a certificate and present and finished with a tea party. Great fun but didn't have time to organise caps etc.

I think this year we are going to rewrite The very hungry caterpillar and have it going on a different adventure.

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ah thank you for your brilliant and in-depth replies, so many ideas! Between the leader and I we have found some lovely poems and songs to sing so going to try and keep it simple for our first time, can't wait to see them all dressed up, good tip to take in photos of own graduations and the little things like throwing the caps in the air, very exciting just hope the children enjoy it! Thank you all again, lots to tell my leader now! Janny where do I order graduation partyware from- eBay/ Fancy dress shops and the like?

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Hi we get ours from Partyware.co.uk, lots of lovely things, decorations, paper plates, confetti etc, not too expensive either and really does make the day special!!

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we usually look on ebay for graduation clothes....................lasy year, High school musical was everywhere, so we bought enough costumes for all of our children, some for only a couple of pounds.We unpicked the HSM collars, and they were fabulous.We also bought personalised sashes ( ebay again, you can get them for as little as £2 each ), we had the name of our setting.....XXXX graduate 2010......................in bright yellow, so they went really well with the costumes. This year we have bought outfits in our group colours. We have a big picnic, and everone waits outside for the graduates to make their big entry...........One of the staff opens the door and announces 'ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride that I introduce to you, the Class of....', not a dry eye in the house! We sometimes have an entertainer, depending on finances, lots of pictures of the children around and they all get a degree certificate............ have fun!

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Has anyone got a pattern or could upload a photo of the gowns they have made - we have done graduation for a while but never had gowns and it would really make it extra special. The slide show to music is always a real tear jerker and we put a few funny ones of the staff at the end to lighten the mood!!

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