After a round of rousing songs sung by our students, a heart-warming slideshow, and of course, the presentation of the diplomas, I invited everyone to move to the classroom next door for some light refreshments. I cut the cake and watched my little graduates showing off their robes and funny hats, playing with their classmates (for the last time, for some). As I watched, I wondered to myself, for a brief moment, if we had done enough. Had we done enough to prepare these bright young minds for success in Kindergarten and beyond? Had we answered our call to prepare God's children for the fulfillment of His purposes?
On one level, I feel confident in the rigor of our curriculum as adequate preparation for Kindergarten. My staff has worked extensively with these children on basic exercises in reading, writing and math. With the increased demand for children who are academically prepared for Kindergarten, working with our kids in these subject areas is important, but only the tip of the iceberg.
On another (and perhaps, more important) level, our program prepared these graduates with the social skills and emotional development necessary to ease their transition to primary school, as any effective preschool program should. Studies have shown that children who have a more difficult time making friends in Kindergarten are generally outperformed by their peers throughout their academic careers. This is why we, as teachers, take steps to correct negative social behaviors–rough play, not sharing, arguing, etc.–which could result in social rejection when transitioning to Kindergarten.
But most importantly, I believe we have prepared our students spiritually, teaching them stories about Jesus and songs about His love for "little ones like me, me, me!" One parent told me, "I'm so happy my child has learned to love the Lord." Something like that is not easily forgotten! It is my firm believe that, even if not all of our graduates continue in Christian education moving forward, at least we have planted seeds that I pray will grow into something beautiful.
So, as I wave goodbye to a graduating class of ten beautiful children who are prepared for everything Kindergarten has in store for them, I look forward to the next wave of young minds to mold and shape for the Lord's calling.