Nov 17

Grade R – Graduation Ceremony – 2016

Grade R – Graduation Ceremony – 2016

Good evening friends, families, and graduates. Before opening the evening with an official speech, I would like to share the following joke with you:

It was the kindergarten teacher’s birthday and the students decided that they would each buy their teacher a gift.

The first student, whose parents own a florist shop, gave her a present. She held it and said “I guess that it is flowers”. “How did you guess?” asked the little boy. She laughed and thanked him.

The second student, whose parents own a candy store, gave her a present. She held it and said, “I guess that is some candy.”

“How did you guess?” asked the little girl. She again laughed and thanked him also.

The third student, whose parents own a bottle shop, gave her a box which was leaking. The teacher touched the liquid with her finger and tasted it. “Mmmmm is it wine?” she asked.

“No,” said the little girl.

So she tasted it again. “Is it champagne?” she asked.

“Noooo,” replied the little girl, “It’s a puppy.”~

We come together tonight to recognize and honor our preschool graduates. Over the past year they have come through these doors to play, paint, draw, build, dress-up, read, write, color, and learn. Through the power of play these students have grown socially, emotionally and academically. Through the power of compassionate and love filled teaching, our students are now prepared for the Foundation Phase – Grade 1.

As you move into the next phase of your academic lives I have some advice for you. First, don’t forget everything you did here. Especially anything that was fun and playful. You will be entering into a world of testing and strict standards that will dictate your every move. Your play time will be replaced by test preparation and your coloring will be done with a number two pencil in small circles – But always embrace your individuality, your uniqueness’s.

My second piece of advice is to hold on to your creativity as long as you can. While you were here in preschool you were creative in the most unfiltered and pure form. You learned new things out of curiosity and a natural love of learning. As you get older your classes will become more rigid, structured and scripted. Do whatever you can to be creative in your work and pursue your natural curiosity.

Another thing to keep in mind is to embrace failure. Yes, when you tried singing your ABC’s and messed up, your teacher gave you as much time as you needed to figure it out and get it right. Even though you failed initially, your teacher did help you learn from it. However, as you move forward failure must be seen as a lesson to learn form and opportunity to grow and become stronger.
Those friends that you made in preschool will still be with you. Although as you move on in your schooling, those friends will now be competitors. Instead of playing together you will compete with each other for awards, spots on sports teams, and class ranking. If you are lucky you will come out on top.

My last piece of advice is for you to never lose your hope.  You will have educators willing to make learning as fun for you as it was here in preschool. Your new teacher will allow you to think outside the box and allow your natural creativity to flow. They will encourage you to be more than a number on a standardized test or a grade on a report card.

Teachers outside of the preschool world, if you are in the audience I ask you a favour. Look at these bright and enthusiastic faces tonight. They have a love for learning and treasure every day at school. Do whatever is in your power to keep them this way as long as possible. Don’t squash it with test prep, awards competitions, and overly standardized tuition.

In closing, my most heartfelt congrats and deepest gratitude is extended to Mrs Paterson and Mrs Hill and the sterling work that you two ladies have done this past year.

To our parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles who assisted in nurturing and bringing up these special children. – a special thank you to you.

Please remember that teaching and parenting remain noble and selfless occupations, predicated on an optimistic view of the future.  Think of our responsibilities … to foster a life-long quest for knowledge, to ignite the spark of enlightenment, to cultivate a human mind, to model and embody and then to inculcate, the very best of human values.

Tonight, you all possess a special and unique gift.  Your gift is the understanding that knowledge matters.  That knowledge, humanely applied, makes human progress possible.

Encourage your little ones to:

Never stop learning.

Never stop asking questions.

Never stop challenging existing assumptions and comfortable conventions.

Never stop inching us towards the truth.

Never stop believing that you are cared for.


But I must add one last thing.  I mentioned earlier knowledge humanely applied.  Do cherish the words, human and humane.  Without friendship and companionship and indeed, love, life is futile and arid.

Cherish you families, remember your friends.

Don’t neglect your memories.


Thank you to the following:

Firstly a huge ‘thank you’ to Malcom Tait for the loan of chairs / tables etc., form his events company.

Thank you to these wonderful ladies and gentlemen for all their hard work, dedication and love, that they have shown our Grade R Educators.  Our fundraising functions and other Grade R events would not have run as smoothly or as successfully without your input and assistance.

These ‘class reps’ all hold down full time jobs – from Travel Consultants to Estate Agents to Event Planners among others, but still find time to support their school and our Educators.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!

While you deserve a ‘Gold’ medal for your efforts, the Grade R Educator would like to present you with a more fitting award!