Holding Graduation Ceremonies for Kindergartners & 4th Graders Is Absurd

Rant 40

little girl graduatingHave you seen them? The slew of "graduation" photos on Facebook, each one seeming to feature a child smaller than the one before? Kids these days graduate from everything. Pre-school. Kindergarten. First grade. Second grade. Third grade ...

Of course, every ceremony is adorable. Of course, the kids are proud, the parents prouder.

But do we really need all these graduations? If little kids "graduate" just for completing a school year, what are we really teaching them?

That you get a big party every time you wipe your nose?

Come on, now, people!

I say this as the mother of an 8-year-old who has gone through two graduations already in life: pre-school and kindergarten. In a few years, she'll have what our district has dubbed a "stepping up" ceremony, the jump from elementary to high school. It's just another word for graduation.

I loved her graduation ceremonies.

But I couldn't help feeling a little silly.

Going from kindergarten to first grade is not really ... much. All she did was walk across the hall (LITERALLY) to another classroom.

She wasn't done. Far from it. Sure, she gave up naps. Sure, she started doing homework (it starts in kindergarten these days ... sigh). But she had so much more to learn.

Has so much more to learn.

As do those graduating third graders and graduating fourth graders (and fifth graders, and ....).

They may have finished a year of school, but they still haven't tackled calculus or gone two rounds with the periodic tables. Shakespeare and dissecting fetal pigs are still ahead of them. There are so many lessons to learn -- academic and life.

More From The Stir: 5 Best Graduation Speeches of 2013 -- From Hilarious to Heartwarming (VIDEOS)

The dictionary defines graduation as "conferral or receipt of an academic degree or diploma marking completion of studies." But their studies are far from complete.

So how are we defining graduation for our little kids who are constantly "graduating"? It's another reason for Mom and Dad to buy you stuff. It's another meaningless trophy (or tassel) on the shelf. It's another sign that "accomplishments" are easy to grasp.

And it's a load of baloney ... cute, cute baloney.

Do you feel like little kids graduate too much or should we be celebrating their "accomplishments"?


Image by Jeanne Sager

education, elementary school


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Smoke... Smokeygirl

I think preschool to kinder and end of elementary to middle school are appropriate milestones to mark- each one is a jump from one type of learning to another. Aside from that, I don't think kindergarten graduation is necessary, nor any other intergrade graduations.  My elementary school had a "moving up" ceremony and we didn't wear caps/gowns, just recieved our honors/awards and a hug from our teacher and the principal. It was nice.

Fondue Fondue

I agree that it's absolutely ridiculous.  It's on par with everyone getting a trophy for participating.

nonmember avatar Lucia, age 12

Not every grade deserves a graduation ceremony! Finishing a school level, like elementary or middle, does, because they're starting a new school and things are going to be different.

nonmember avatar myopinon5

Just because YOUR kid only walked across the hall doesn't mean it's like that for everyone. In my area kindergarten is separate and what's wrong with graduating when you are moving onto a new place? We graduated from kindergarten, ele. school (5th grade) middle school (8th.) All going to different schools after graduation.

I am so tired of these writers spewing their opinions on stuff that doesn't even matter?

LostS... LostSoul88

I rthink kinder, end of grade school, and end of high school are just enough. 

Felip... FelipesMom

I always add quotes - or finger quotes - when talking about my son's Kindergarten "graduation." I wouldn't take away from this event for him, but the only reason he cares is because it's been talked up at school.

The WORST part, though, was when I realized they were calling out the kids who didn't pass Kindergarten - right there on stage! As each kid's name was called, the teacher listed what they were getting that day. Some kids got math awards or literacy awards or perfect attandance certificates, but what I noticed was that not everyone got a DIPLOMA. Each kid either got a diploma OR a "certificate of achievement." Basically the new way to say "you are getting recognized for participating." What a load of CRAP. If they hadn't staged the graduation in the first place, they wouldn't have had to call those kids out!

And really, why have a K graduation ceremony at all when not all kids pass K? At that age, it is SO not their fault! So they should all get to "walk," but then how do you explain the situation to the kids who have to go back and to K all over again?

The whole thing makes me sick, really. Our whole society's emphasis on arbitrary, empty achievements. Kids who think creatively or innovate or excel at anything besides math and reading usually don't get the recognition they deserve - and sometimes are punished for it. Yet attending school for one year gets you a ceremony. Whatever.

Felip... FelipesMom

Oops I got a little bitter there! Haha, sorry. I tend to get worked up about public education :o)

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

I agree, however I think the Kindergarten one's are cute. Though I wouldn't go throwing my Kindergartener a GRADUATION PARTY at home, like a FB "friend"  of mine did.  That's just stupid. I think the SCHOOL ceremony is cute. I think they are fine to do (at school) for Pre-K, Kinder, 6th grade, 8th, and then of course ACTUAL Graduation. The real deal we will be throwing a big party, as that is a big accomplishment and worth celebrating, the rest are just cute to watch at school. I have never heard of anyone doing 3rd and 4th grade graduations? That is just ridiculous. 

nonmember avatar JGM1764

I'm going to make a stale reference here but look on the bright side, you can collect their caps and make an art piece out of them like in Twilight.

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