Moving On Up
At this time of year, many of our children's time at WOK is coming to (or has already come to) an end. Whilst everyone at WOK will miss these superstars a huge amount, we are also very excited for them all to begin their personal journeys into formal education. At the end of last month we hosted a week of graduation ceremonies, in order to celebrate the magnitude of achievements our older members have made during their time at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens. I believe that staff, parents and children all found these ceremonies emotional and rewarding. However, there are some arguments which claim nursery graduation ceremonies are an unnecessary and sentimental occasion. In this blog entry I aim to explore these arguments, but ultimately defend my position that graduation ceremonies are a meaningful and beneficial experience for children who are transitioning from nursery to primary school.
Over the last decade, the increasing popularity of Nursery Graduation ceremonies has proved to be a controversial topic. Indeed,when researching this subject I found articles from the BBC, The Metro and The Telegraph all debating the necessity of such an occasion. The Metro describes the ceremony as an 'OTT American trend” whilst the Telegraph cited a source that claimed nursery graduations were designed to make children 'perform like monkeys'. In response to this statement I would like to make it clear that all of our children are given the choice to participate or not participate in graduation and are certainly never coerced into 'performing'. In 2011 the BBC news magazine published an article entitled “Do four-year-olds need a graduation ceremony?”which was more focused on primary sourced qualitative research. Journalist Justin Parkinson interviewed a nursery manager from Stockton on Tees who has the following to say about Nursery graduation:” "It's all about celebrating their completion of pre-school and their individual development,". I wholly agree with this statement, particularly the sentiment regarding individual development. At WOK we aim to tailor our graduation to the individual as much as possible.
In 2009 a group of Educationalists and social scientists collated their research in order to create the text Informing transitions in the Early Years.The authors claimed that the purpose of the book was to: “address the challenges posed by transitions in early childhood” Amongst other things, Researchers found “Individuals personal histories play an important role in their identities. Their histories assess their abilities personalities and self worth.”At a Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten graduation we ensure that we give children a significant amount of time to reflect upon their nursery journey and experience, thus arguably cementing their personal history and identity. Therefore, I think I have provided adequate argument to suggest that nursery graduations actually benefit children's transitions to primary school.
That's it for this week guys! On behalf of everyone at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens I would like to wish the very best of luck to all children who are about to start school!
Links https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ magazine-28399266