I helped my daughter write her preschool graduation speech, which became part of her learning journey and created warm memories for us both.
A Graduation Speech That Celebrates Their Growth in Early Childhood
Your preschooler is graduating and tasked to work on his or her graduation speech. In addition to expressing thanks to the educators, friends and people who have been part of their early childhood growing years, here are some tips from my experience to help Junior make his or her speech close to their hearts, easy to remember, and commemorative of their growth as they move into the next stage of life.
A graduation speech that celebrates their growth in early childhood
Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
— Michael Josephson
1. Let's Talk!
Have a chat with Junior about how he or she would like to work on the speech. Dedicate a time or even a place to work on the speech together.
In my case, my daughter and I agreed to work on this once a week, over a couple of hot chocolate dates outside at nearby cafes.
Even today, it warms my heart as I remember how enjoying this process together became part of my child's learning journey.
2. Parts of a Graduation Speech
On the same day that we sat down for a talk, I explained and introduced the following three parts in a graduation speech:
a. The Opening where you address the audience, introduce yourself, and what you will be sharing in awhile.
b. The Body where you express thanks to people at school, share about what you like, have learnt, and/or the most memorable thing that happened to you at school.
c. The Ending is recommended to be short and sweet for this age group, coupled with a bow and "Thank you!" right at the end.
When the final draft is firmed up, all we need to do is Practise! Practise! Practise!
3. Listing Who to Thank and What You Like About the School
On our first hot chocolate cafe date, we talked about the parts of the speech again and decided to work on two things for the day: the list of people whom she would like to thank, and a list of 10 things that she likes about her preschool.
This was like a brainstorming session, child-led as much as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee.
List—Thanking the people from school
The list of people (friends, non-academic staff and teachers) turned out to be quite a long list. My daughter started to worry about who she will forget or if she had even written down everyone she wanted thank. We agreed to look into this again to see how we can go about incorporating it into the speech eventually.
List—Sharing what she likes about the school
Here is her list of the 10 things she like about her school (probably in her order of preference) translated from the picture below in case you cannot decode her words:
1. I like school because I get to play
2. Different teachers come to school
3. And sometimes I get to rest also
4. And I like to ride cars (pretend) outdoors
5. I like the flowers in the garden
6. Sometimes I see caterpillars crawling there too
7. And I like the toys in the school
8. I like to jump outdoors and play
9. And I like the cupboard that is where we put our bags
10. I like the worksheets
4. Let's Discuss!
During our 2nd hot chocolate date week after, we went into an in-depth discussion about the draft graduation speech.
Discuss—Thanking the people from school
As my daughter was worried about remembering and forgetting to address the long list of people whom she wanted to thank, we decided to "Thank all my Teachers for teaching me and my friends many things and all the outdoor fun we have had". We also agreed to end the speech thanking everyone in the school along with her awesome friends.
Discuss—Sharing what she likes about the school
Running through her list, we concluded that outdoors at preschool held her fondest memories of the school and it should be addressed in the speech. In addition, she will look through the list and again to choose the items she felt most strongly about and share in her speech.
5. Putting It Together
Now that we are aligned and agreed on the body of the speech, all we need to do is to add the opening and ending part of the speech in.
After sipping more hot chocolate, my munchkin decided on a simple opening address with "Hello Everyone!".
As for the ending, we kept it short, addressed her awesome friends and everything else in the school with "Awesome Friends! Awesome School! I like Preschool!". Yes, 'like', not 'love', as she felt the latter word was too heavy for the speech.
With that, we had our final draft ready.
6. Practise! Practise! Practise!
Onto the final leg of preparation, it is all about practising the speech and having fun while Junior does. Different children have different dispositions. Some children can be more vocal and expressive, while others are more reserved.
Speaking in front of an audience made up of parents, grandparents and strangers is a big thing for a preschooler. Practising the speech in a manner your child is most comfortable with will help them deliver the speech with more ease on the actual day and remember it better.
Here are some of the ways you can try!
- Audio recording (easily done with mobile phones)
- Video recording or YouTube
- Rehearse in front of family members
- Adding some hand gestures in between the speech to help Junior remember different parts of his/her speech
I did an audio recording for my daughter to listen to before sleeping at night from time to time. Subsequently, I asked if she would like to record one for herself but she declined, preferring to listen to my recording instead. Nearing Graduation Day, she practised her speech in front of the family a few times. The school dedicated time to allow the children for practice too.
I end the article with a snippet of my daughter's graduation speech to celebrate her preschool years. It may not be the best written speech, but the words were hers.
Snippet of Munchkin's Graduation Speech
Kid, you’ll move mountains.
— Dr. Seuss
© 2019 Yvonne Teo
Yvonne Teo (author) from Singapore on May 20, 2019:
Thank you, I learnt something new today! Didn't know education is compulsory in the UK
Liz Westwood from UK on May 19, 2019:
Generally reception is 4-5years old in the UK. Compulsory education kicks in at around 5 years old. Childrem move on to secondary level when they are 11.
Yvonne Teo (author) from Singapore on May 18, 2019:
Hello Liz, thanks for the kind words. Here on our sunny island, preschoolers graduate when they are 6 years old before compulsory education steps in for another 6 years (i.e. from age 7 to 12). Homeschooling is alright though. How about the preschoolers in UK?
Liz Westwood from UK on May 18, 2019:
You give great tips and ideas in this article. What age do pre-schoolers graduate?