Kindergarten graduation

Today I visited the kindergarten class I interned in for the last time. Tonight is their graduation. They will spend the summer at various camps, visiting family, and maybe even traveling to other countries. Then in the fall, they will all begin their next adventure: first grade. Small groups of 3 or 4 students might be at the same school or even in the same class, but for the most part, they will be apart, as they live in many different towns/neighborhoods.

I can’t attend the actual graduation ceremony because I have to work, so I chose the next best thing: the rehearsal. They filed in, sat down, sang a welcoming song, practiced receiving (student-created) awards, practiced receiving their diplomas, and sang their closing song. I almost cried during that last part. The closing song begins with the line, “See the sun setting in the sky. It’s time to end another day.”

While I was with them, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I probably will never see most of them again. How this special, unique group of children, with their various personalities, quirks, interests, and habits will never be together — all 18 of them — again. I thought about how short a school year really is, in the grand scheme of things. How difficult it is to say goodbye after just 190ish days. September always brings a new group of students, but no class is the same from year to year.

I will miss playing mancala and the secret word game with C. I will miss watching I draw her fashion designs. I will miss R’s enthusiasm for sharks. I will miss watching J and K try to run faster and faster during tag games. I will miss kicking a soccer ball around with M. I will miss just talking with E about her weekend. I will miss H and S’s insightful and creative¬†contributions to storytelling. I will miss dancing with J. I will miss our morning meetings, our songs, freeze dance, the block area, the treehouse, field trips, and most of all, our stories. The stories we read and the stories the children told, sometimes independently, more often in a group.

This kindergarten class was, for me, the first experience I ever had in a classroom on a regular basis. I know beyond any doubt that I was an important part of their learning and kindergarten experiences. I wonder if they will ever know how much I learned from them, and how unforgettable they are.

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