The Kindergarten Slide Ceremony: An End-of-the-Year Tradition

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Spring seems the perfect time to end the school year as the children's growth mirrors that which is happening outside the classroom window.  

This past week, our kindergarten team celebrated their "blooming" with a Slide Ceremony and Fun Day.  The slide ceremony itself, was shared with us by a colleague (Thank you Sara!) at another school.  We loved how simple, yet meaningful, it was and how it offered a rite of passage as children moved from one grade to the next.  Here's how it all worked:

Parents were invited to attend and rotated through four stations with their child and class.

My group started at bubbles and chalk where families were invited to explore the question, Are all bubbles round?" while making pipe cleaner wands.  

They could also use chalk to play tic tac toe, show off their newfound drawing and writing abilities, or trace each other's bodies.

Next, we moved to our wooded area where families found blankets spread throughout the grounds.  The children were given their book bags and chose a blanket for their family.  There they shared their reading as well as their Show How You Grow books that documented their drawing and writing throughout the school year.  

This was probably my favorite part of the day.  It was so touching to see the children nestled among their families, at the center of their attention, while sharing the story of their growth. 

Following that we headed to our smaller playground where we set up a garden of pinwheels.  

Each child had written something they had learned how to do in kindergarten on each petal.  They found their "flower," shared it with their families, and then played on the swings and monkey bars.  

Our last stop was the Slide Ceremony.  At the beginning of the year, we explained to the children that they were not allowed to use the twisty slide until the end of kindergarten when they were ready to become first graders.

Usually at some point in the year, one brave child reveals that they have been to the playground with their parents and used the twisty slide and then several more disclose that they too have been on it.  It's all very cute, as they think they are getting away with something, but it doesn't take away from the ceremony itself as they are still very excited to begin using it every day as part of their outdoor playtime. 

So here's how the ceremony worked! Each child took a turn going down the slide while families gathered around and watched.  In past years, we have had them share something they have learned how to do (I can...), but this year one of our teachers had an on-the-spot idea while practicing to have them share what they want to be when they grow up from the top of the slide before going down.  We all agreed that this was much cuter (i.e. When I grow up I want to be a Monster Truck Driver)! At the end of the slide we presented them with a certificate and congratulated them.  

At this point, the day came to a close and the children said goodbye to their families.  I was surprised to find that I had SIX children crying as we headed back to the classroom.  In trying to figure this out (after all, this wasn't the FIRST day of kindergarten), I realized that the children so enjoyed being the center of their parent's attention and just didn't want the day to end!  

We had wrestled with the idea of whether or not to allow siblings, as we knew this might make it difficult for some parents to attend, but in the end all 21 of my children had family there and it would not have been the same experience if younger siblings had been present!  We sent home a RSVP ahead of time, so we could make arrangements for a substitute adult to fill in, should there be a family who was not able to come.

I've done class plays and song fests over the years to celebrate the end of kindergarten, but this is by far is my favorite way of wrapping it up.  We didn't have to spend weeks practicing for a performance and it was truly a celebration of their growth! 

What are your end-of-school year traditions?

Thanks for stopping by!

PS If you are looking for ways to prepare your Kinders for the transition to first grade, check out
We Are (Almost) in First Grade! 

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