Why it's ok to cry at a preschool graduation

  • Parenting
  • School
That goes for kindergarten graduations, too!

By Becca Ross

Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher

Becca is a schoolteacher and blogs at homeiswheremystorybegins.com. She loves to cook, bake, garden, sew, quilt, teach and simply spend time with her family. She strives to find art in everyday things.

Posted on Tue May 12 14:00:00 PDT 2015

The day is almost here. You’ve seen your baby through diapers, potty training, sleepless nights, and transitioning to preschool. Now, after spending part of each week in the loving care of the world’s best preschool teacher, you are about ready to pick your child up from preschool for the last time. Whether there is a formal graduation, a class party, or simply a hug good-bye, it’s an emotional time! While kids may just bounce off to the car, parents are often fighting back tears. I’m here to tell you, friends, that it’s ok to cry.

There is something safe and secure about the preschool classes. There are usually small class sizes, two teachers in the room, and a program that you have confidence in because you have researched programs in the area and know it’s the perfect place. After all, in most cases you are paying to have your child attend each week. When preschool comes to an end, you are closing a chapter. Your child’s friends may go to different schools, moms you have made small talk with each day won’t be there to answer your questions any more. Your baby is now, officially, a big kid and will be going to a big kid school.

You may also be feeling weepy because of your thankfulness toward the teachers and staff. You’ve seen the love and care your child has received each day, and it simply melts your heart. You know the hard work and dedication those wonderful teachers have put into YOUR child, and you simply can’t thank them enough. As your heart aches with thankfulness, you wonder if the kindergarten teacher will care for your baby in the same way the preschool teachers did? Will they think he’s funny and smart? Will they “get him” the way his current teachers have? All of these things make the emotions flow to the surface.

The fear of the unknown is a challenge for everyone. In most cases, parents will go to their neighborhood school and register for kindergarten, unlike preschool where you went on multiple classroom tours and researched every possible program in the area. Many parents know very little about the program or school they are going to be part of, unless they have a neighbor or an older child already enrolled. The thought of walking into a brand new classroom, with twice as many students, and an unknown teacher is enough to bring butterflies to any parent’s stomach. 

You have a lot on your plate right now. It’s a time of transition and a bit of letting go, and no one ever said it was going to be easy. Our kids keep marching along, getting older, and there is no one who can make time stand still for us. Take a deep breath, give your child a hug, and don’t apologize for those tears. You have earned them. You earned them when your child didn’t want to go during those first 2 weeks of preschool and you walked away from your crying child even when you didn’t want to. You earned them when the school office called to let you know that your baby would be coming home with a minor head bump from an incident on the playground. You earned them when you realized that suddenly things seemed easier and drop off time was no longer a challenge. You earned them that first time that he didn’t want to come home with you and asked if he could stay at school and play with his friends. You’ve earned the right to have emotions and maybe even a tear or two. Enjoy the moment, soak it in, and hug your baby. Time goes by in the blink of an eye.