Oh my goodness, where do I start?
This would just never, ever happen in the US. On so many levels.
So, M practiced dances for weeks to perform in the graduation ceremony. In fact, I even participated in a dance. Yes. I danced, with M, on a stage, in front of hundreds of parents. There were other mother-child pairs on stage too, it's not like it was just us. But anyway, it was weeks and weeks of practicing. It was very rigorous. Also, all of the kids had to buy matching dresses for the ceremony. And these were not cheap dresses. The teacher picked a fancy red dress for the girls and a little bowtie outfit for the boys and everyone matched that morning. Everyone also showed up early to get their makeup done. I'm telling you this was a real production.
So, first all the kids walked across the stage and got their little diplomas. But I guess when you have 50 kids in a class, even when you have only four classes, that's a lot of kids. So, they walked up four at a time, and there was no saying their names. That was nice. Then the dancing started. There were emcees and SO MANY DANCES. And most of them involved costumes. Oh, and also groups of parents and groups of students reciting speeches about how much they loved kindergarten in between the dances. And the best dance was one done by a group of teachers where the beginning and the end was a rap song, but the middle switched to patriotic music where they did a cute little head-bob march.
After like twenty things, they put all 200 kids on stage and then got all the teachers on stage too, and each teacher read a little paragraph or two about how much they loved their students and how they would never forget them for the rest of their lives. It was very sweet. But the craziest thing was that by the time the third or fourth teacher was reading, ALL OF THE CHILDREN WERE WAILING. Like at first, there were a few kids crying, and I was all like, "Oh how sweet, that one is crying." But after a few more minutes, I was like, "What that's siren noise?" And it was the sound of kids crying. TWO HUNDRED KIDS THROWING THEIR HEADS BACK AND SCREAMING IN ANGUISH about the thought of leaving kindergarten. You couldn't even hear the teachers in the microphones over the wailing!! I've never seen anything like it in my entire life. Okay, full disclosure, I was crying too, but I couldn't stop alternating between that and hysterical laughter. E is our feeler and she was just bawling her eyes out, but M, who mostly gets her excellent emotion-repressing skills from her mother, didn't shed a tear.
Anyway, after it was all said and done and we had taken all the pictures and made it back home, M seemed to not remember a single bad memory from her entire three years in kindergarten and thought the graduation day was the best day of her life. So I guess it was all worth it. At any rate, having finished the graduating-from-kindergarten bit has made it less overwhelming for her to face going to elementary school. Before the graduation, I think she was just crippled by sadness about leaving kindergarten and fear about starting first grade. But now that the graduation is done and the sadness has been processed, she's doing a lot better facing the first grade thing. So I guess it was good! And we'll be a little more prepared when it's E's turn.