I've had a lot of things going on in my life recently and for some reason or another it's caused me to become very nostalgic. One of my fondest memories of my last two years at TLC was the most recent Preschool Moving Up Day. It was a day that I stressed about constantly, but it ended up being possibly the best day I've had at my job in these past two years. Just because I started this blog months after Moving Up Day happened doesn't mean I can't talk write about it right?
Maddie, my old assistant teacher (http://madalinekjenkins.blogspot.com/) and I had just finished a theme on Dr. Suess in our classroom when it hit me that "Oh, The Places You'll Go" would be a great theme for Moving Up Day. Many students of all ages are given this book when they graduate and I thought that it would be a very fun theme for the ceremony. I had done one Moving Up Day on my own before this one, and was part of many of the Moving Up Days prior to that one when I worked at TLC during college and high school but I felt like I really wanted to go all out for this one. The ceremony that I had planned the year before was nice, but in my opinion there was nothing too special about it. I knew that Maddie, being the artistic person that she is, would be all for making this a memorable and special day. We started brainstorming right away.
Some people might say that we took on more than we could handle and I'd be lying if I said we did EVERYTHING that we wanted to do but we did do an incredible amount of work. We got to work a couple of months before Moving Up Day by planning the date, how we wanted to decorate, what songs the kids would sing, what gifts we would give them and finally what color caps and gowns we would have the kids in. We settled on June 22nd and decided that we were going to go with a rainbow color scheme. We checked out Pintrest for decoration ideas (I'm still not sure if that helped us or hurt us; tooooo many ideas, not enough time!) and picked three songs for the kids to sing. We decided on "We're All In This Together" from High School Musical (that was by far their favorite song!), "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins and my favorite, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart.
Now that all the planning was done we just needed to execute everything. About a month out we made a checklist and decided what exactly we needed to get done in that last month and what we were just going to decided not to do. We had the "graduates" do life size self portraits and we did a quote board filled with HILARIOUS things that the kids had said over the past year. We also did two Superlative boards with things like best hair, class couple, best laugh and many others. Maddie and I wanted to give the kids something they could hold on to as a gift so we decided to get each of the graduates a copy of "Oh, The Places You'll Go" and we signed each of them as well as the director, Val, who had been with the kids every step of the way and two of the other teachers that the children had had at TLC. They were a great keepsake in my opinion. The last two things we chose to add to the ceremony was a slide show with tons of pictures of the children and a "candy bar" that the kids could enjoy at the luncheon after the ceremony. We would have been stupid to not include a slide show in the ceremony since Maddie is such an incredible photographer and had taken so many beautiful pictures of the children ( http://mkcstudio.weebly.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/MKC-Studio/227875567345). Everything was falling into place and the children were getting more and more excited!
The day before Moving Up Day had arrived and it felt like we had a million things to do! Maddie hadn't been feeling well, I was losing my voice (which always seems to happen when I stress out about big events) and we were both worn out from all the prep we had done for this day. We both worked our normal 8 hour shifts that day and then I went back to meet Maddie after the center closed at 5:30 and we started to get all the decorations ready. Maddie's friend and her husband came to help which was a godsend. We knew that since the ceremony was taking place in the church and they were having their regular Thursday night service we wouldn't be able to get in to decorate until at least 8 so we did as much prep as we could in the classroom. We blew up tons of balloons, we strung the flag signs, we set up the entire candy bar and we chatted and gossiped too. Oh, and of course we watched Marcel The Shell a couple times just for a good laugh. Sadly by the end of the night I sounded like him. We started getting ready for the ceremony at 5:30 that night and we didn't end up leaving until all the decorations and tables were set up at 10:00pm. Oh, and we were coming back at 6:15 the next morning to finish. It was all worth it though...
Finally the big day had arrive. All the kids were coming in dressed in their nice outfits and they knew that it was going to be a special day. Maddie and I took turns running back and forth between the classroom and the church to put the finishing touches on everything. We put a movie on for the kids so we could get their caps and gowns on and sent them all to the bathroom (we knew that at least one of them would say they had to go "potty" in the middle of the ceremony if we didn't). This is when my nerves started to kick in, and when my voice continued to give out. I hoped that everyone would love what we did and were proud of the kids for how much they had done to prepare for this day. All of the songs went really well, the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Val gave a nice speech at the beginning and Maddie and I read from "Oh, The Places You'll Go." Then came time for the slide show. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was relieved things had gone so well, or that I was heart broken that I only had a couple more months with some of my kids or that Val started crying almost the second the slide show started (I almost ALWAYS cry when she cries; she's like my big sister) or if it was just a combination of all three things but I was an emotional mess during the slide show. I saw some of the parents and grandparents crying as well. I'm sure it didn't help that we picked some tear jerker songs to play in the background- ha!
After the ceremony was over we had a huge luncheon in the church. All of them parents were telling me and Maddie how much they enjoyed the ceremony and how proud of their children and us they were. It felt great to hear those things. We had worked so hard and we had put so much time and effort into making it a day they would remember so it felt great to hear that the parents and children enjoyed it. All the kids went crazy over the candy bar, especially the rainbow cupcakes I had made for the occasion. After everything had settled and the clean-up had ended I had this overwhelming feeling like "that's it?" We had put so much into the day and it felt like it flew by. I also felt like I didn't know what I was going to spend my free time doing now that all the prep work for the day was done. I will admit though, it was nice to have some free time after it was over! I honestly don't know if I could, or will ever top that Moving Up Day. I was so proud of everything the children had done, everything that Maddie and I had done and we honestly wouldn't have been able to get it all done with out Val and Bri. This years Moving Up Day will be much harder for me to get through. The group that will the "graduating" this coming June is the first group that I've had in my room since their first day in the Preschool room. I can't believe I'm going to have to say goodbye to all of them in less than a year. I better starting planning an epic Moving Up Day for them right now... ;)
All of the LARGE pictures were taken by Maddie! Thanks for letting me use them Maddie :) All the small square ones were taken with my iPhone.