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Musings: Take Wing

Aliza Goldman

How has your child grown this year? Let me count the ways.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


June. The perennial flowers bloom. The sun’s rays grow stronger and shine longer each day. First jackets, then sweaters are abandoned. Short sleeves and bobby socks come out of storage. Summer beckons. But first we must finish school. And in preschool, that means a graduation ceremony.

What will I do with my class this year? As I headed out the door on my way to work, the question floated lazily in my consciousness. I walked past the front garden and noticed a large, perfectly round hole in the ground near the base of a tree. I looked closer. Two more identical holes. It must be from some kind of animal, I thought. Maybe a rodent’s nest or den or whatever it’s called.

I drove off to work and my thoughts turned from thinking about calling an exterminator to the upcoming graduation. I had to start planning: in the special-education preschool where I work, the end-of-the-year celebration carries emotions vastly more complex than simply the joy of a completed school year and moving onward and upward. It’s a sensitive day, and we needed to prepare well. 

In addition, the traditional student-performance-plus-refreshments formula simply doesn’t work in this environment. It’s my yearly challenge to create a program that will allow each student and their visitors to interact in a meaningful way. I also wanted to show how each child has grown through the year. 

Usually, I prepare a variety of Mommy and Me activities. I set up play centers and prepare a read-aloud session relating to a theme. And of course, no graduation would be complete without the award-giving ceremony. Each child is singled out for a special accomplishment. Over the years, my favorite and most oft-used theme has been the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The skills the children have worked so hard to acquire are like the butterflies’ wings, allowing each child to move onward and upward as they fly off to new places.

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