Since it was the first one and there wasn't even a budget for it, I had to make it "cheap as possible," Challenge accepted! I know what you might be thinking, cheap as possible, means just that cheap! So, let me rephrase, budget friendly as possible. Doesn't have the same vibe right?
In my head I started planning the event and picturing the children, excited to be heading to kindergarten. I remember when Peanut was going to kindergarten (you can read all about his ceremony here). I have to admit, I am not usually one of those moms that cries and gets all "oh my baby." NOW read carefully, there is nothing wrong with that, it's just not me. I get excited to share the events with my children and often times cannot wait for them to experience something so we can talk about it. I know, I know. Who does that?
I started with the invitation and just loved the simplicity of it but you have to remember that the invite sets the tone and mood for the entire party!
Simple and yet so very effective. The next part was to come up with the certificate, at the last minute we ended up using some certificates that a parent had given to us. Sometimes the budget wins and well I was sad. The certificates I feel really tie the entire event to together? Don't you think?
Next came the food labels, most people think they are a little much, but I really love the idea of labeling the food and knowing well exactly what you are eating! I simply printed off the picture and folded it in half so that it would sit up by itself.
Since it was the preschoolers graduation, I wanted them to be involved as much as possible. Thus meant, I designed the event and the decorations and they have at it! My favorite part about these events are watching the children enjoy themselves and seeing them smile when they point out to someone that they made that.
We have three preschool classrooms and with students from each room, it worked out perfectly. I sketched out the different decorations and passed them to the teachers to have the children decorate in whatever way they wanted. They could paint, color, cut, glue, paste. My only rule was that they took pride in their work. We created three items that matched the theme, one was the words "oh the places you'll go.", a banner that said kindergarten and two five foot Dr. Seuss style trees. To help decorate the trees and make them look like trees, I created poof balls to go on top and three mini poof balls to help decorate the food buffet.
The children did a great job on the decorations and the best part is they were doing it for themselves and taking pride in their work.
We held the graduation in the cafeteria of our daycare and it made for a crowded yet wonderful event. To help decorate the door and also keep for our Dr. Seuss month (we do a different theme every month) the younger children helped by painting and decorating a hot air balloon. The older children (after school program) decorated the arrows with the student names on them. All of the elements came from the book and about a week before we started decorating all of the items, all of the preschoolers that were heading to kindergarten read the book "Oh the places you'll go" This helped to get them in the mood and understand what everything was for.
The biggest challenge I faced was coming up with cute and affordable graduation hats. Then it hit me try to use what we already have or is very cheap. How is the hat going to stay on their head? What is going to form the hat. Ok, this I got it! We used plastic bowls with the foam pieces glued to the top in each child's favorite color. Then using some really pretty ribbon created a tassel for the children. The cost to make 12 hats= $ 3.00 and we had enough left over next year! Even bigger score. I love how they turned out and how personal they are for each child. I will post later with step by step instructions on the hats and the pom pom balls!
Next came the menu, again there was no budget as this event was a last minute one. We decided to just do snacks and actually host the event right during snack time. Huge budget saver, serve only snacks! For the event, we had cheese stick diplomas (they were for the children only), juice, cookies, and one of the grandparents actually made us FABULOUS cupcakes with graduation hats and everything. One of the most important elements of the event was to have the children be included in as much as possible. They helped me to decorate, create and even cook the food! I just loved cooking with them.
Finally, the most important part of the event the ceremony! We started off walking the children into the cafeteria and having them sit down. Our assistant director open the festivities off and then I read a speech based off of the book, actually I just took excerpts and combined them. We had the teachers speak about each one of the children, handed them their diplomas and had snack. It was short, sweet and lovely. The parents really loved the day and most importantly so did the children.
My speech from the ceremony:
OH the places you'll go (these are just parts of the book taken and placed in order that makes sense and allows for flow!)
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away.
You have brains in your head!
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose!
And will you succeed?
Yes! you will, indeed!
98 & 3/4 % guaranteed.
kids you will move mountains!
So be your name... (inserted all of the children's names here)
Fred or Sophia * (names have been changed)
You're off to great places!
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting...
So get on your way!
I have to say that I love the way the graduation turned out and was even more proud of all of the children!
Oh the places you'll go!