Yikes Tikes! celebrates its third year of graduating students this Friday. Even though there are only six graduates this year, and Los Altos doesn’t even have any kids graduating, all three co-ops are coming together to celebrate.
Why should you care about preschool graduations? Why do we need to celebrate little kids who don’t even have long-term memories yet, when all they’ve done is spent two years playing?
I will get to the why of preschool graduation in a minute, but first I’d like to insist that this event is as much about celebrating parents as it is about celebrating kids. Our parents have gone through two years (or more) of rushed mornings, struggling to get everyone’s teeth brushed, endured tears at drop off and pick up, showed up on time to do their classroom shifts, made it to parent meetings in the evening, and used their collective strength and time to take care of co-op business. It’s been work. This work has been vital to the Yikes Tikes! kids, teachers, and classrooms. Which is why this celebration is important, and why taking time to express gratitude is needed. Yikes Tikes parents, your work is not unseen. Every day you show up on time with your kids fully clothed, shod, and fed; every day you spend hours wiping glitter off the table, washing pairs of little hands over and over, and making sure nobody falls off the swings; that work is visible, needed, and appreciated.
Research shows that those who celebrate their lives by practicing gratitude tend to be more creative, resilient, and social, not to mention having stronger immune systems. To say we feel grateful or that we have cause to celebrate doesn’t mean that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.
Celebrations like Graduation are times to take a break from the daily grind, relax, enjoy each other, and count those blessings. Celebrations signal to us that we are thankful for the progress we are making. When we neglect to acknowledge and celebrate what deserves recognition, we run the risk of taking things for granted and minimizing how powerful we are in creating our own destiny.
Now, back to the kids. For children. celebrations are intrinsically important processes that help define values and standards, friendships and relationships, gratitude and honor. Celebrations promote a sense of well-being, harmony, and cohesiveness. Even if they are not the ones graduating, bringing them to Graduation shows them where they are headed in a year or two. It shows them that their community values and recognizes their growth and learning. It allows them to participate in a practice of gratitude. And most importantly, it’s a chance to party with their friends and family. So, break out your party clothes and let’s hit the bouncy house!