End-of-the-Year Celebration Program
Through reading, music, and discussion, kindergarteners review what they've learned during the school year. The lesson culminates with a ceremony program.
About this book
The students will reflect upon their year in kindergarten. They will note what experiences they shared together, what they couldn't do before they came to kindergarten, and what they can do now. As a result, students will be able to see how much they have accomplished. Students will also sing songs, recite a poem, and celebrate their year in kindergarten.
- Name three memorable events that happened in kindergarten.
- Describe how they have grown this year in terms of what they have learned, what they can do, and the friends that they have made.
- List ideas of what they expect to learn in first grade.
- Learn the poem "When I Was One," by A. A. Milne
- Learn to sing the songs: "ABC Rock," "We All Live Together," "Friends," and "Goodbye Song." (All songs are by Greg and Steve on We All Live Together CD, Volumes 1 & 2.)
- Recite the phrase, "Before I went to kindergarten I didn't know how to _________, but now I do!"
- CD player or computer and speakers for playing music
- Greg and Steve CDs We All Live Together Vol. 1 & 2
- Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss
- The poem "When I Was One" by A.A. Milne (PDF)
- Foam letters or laminated die cut letters, A through Z
- Paper on which to write each student's new competency
- Whiteboard or easel pad
- Markers (for whiteboard or easel pad)
- Optional: Baby pictures of the students
- Optional: Multiple picture books about kindergarten and graduating to first grade. See our Books for the End of Kindergarten book list
Set Up and Prepare
- Pre-cut paper.
- Laminate die cut letters A-Z.
- Optional: Have each of the students bring in a baby picture.
Throughout the days leading up to the Celebration Program, teach the class the following songs: "Friends," "We All Live Together," "Good-bye," and "ABC Rock," all from the We All Live Together CD. Play the songs over and over again. Try reading a line and having the students repeat it back to you. Do this every day until they have it memorized. Do the same for the poem "When I Was One" by A. A. Milne. Note: If you don't have access to the We All Live Together CD, substitute other songs about friends, saying goodbye, the alphabet, and acceptance to share at the Celebration Program.
Step 1: Read Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss.
Step 2: Have the class share what they can do now, at the end of kindergarten, as opposed to what they could do at the beginning of kindergarten.
Step 3: Orally, have each child fill in the blank.
Before I went to kindergarten, I didn't know how to _____, but now I do!
Note: Depending on what the students say, I have them demonstrate their competency. For example, "Before I went to kindergarten, I didn't know how to count by 10s but now I do! 10, 20, 30, 40 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100."
Step 4: Write the "Before I went to kindergarten..." sentence on a paper for each child. It will be needed for recitation practice.
Step 1: Practice accomplishment recitation. Have each child practice saying their lines and demonstrating their competencies. I have my students sit in chairs in a rainbow formation facing the audience. One child at a time comes to the center mark to recite his or her competency.
Step 2: While you are meeting with students individually, have the rest of the class discuss the past year in small groups. Ask students to come up with three memorable events that happened in kindergarten.
Step 3: When you are done helping students practice their recitations, have the small groups share their memorable events with the rest of the class.
Step 1: Each day, continue to practice the songs and poem for the Celebration Program as a class. Students should also practice their recitations, either one-on-one or in front of the class.
Step 2: Encourage students to continue to reflect on the past year. If you want to share other kindergarten-related books for read alouds, see our Books for the End of Kindergarten book list.
Step 1: Ask students to brainstorm ideas of what they expect to learn in first grade. Write their answers on a whiteboard or easel pad. Optional: Display the answers for parents to see during the Celebration Program.
Step 2: Practice using props during the "ABC Rock" song. Hand out the die-cut letters A–Z. Depending on your class size, some kids may have two letters.
Step 3: As students sing the song with the CD, instruct students to raise high the letter they are holding when that letter comes up in the song.
Step 4: Continue practicing the letter raising until students are confident about when to raise their letters. Note: You may want to write each child's name on his or her letter to ensure that they have the same letter on the day of the Celebration Program.
Day 11, Day of Celebration Program
Step 1: The children march in to "Friendship March" from Greg and Steve's We All Live Together Vol. 1. They march on stage and stand in front of their chair. When everyone is in, you can signal for all of them to sit.
Step 2: Welcome everyone to the celebration. Reiterate that we are here to celebrate a year's growth in kindergarten. Point out that, as a teacher, you notice growth at school. As parents, your audience may notice a different growth at home. The students may notice an even different kind of growth. We are here to celebrate it all.
Step 3: Read Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss to the parents. Have the children read along with you.
Step 4: Mention that the first obstacle for students was learning how to get along with others. Sing "We All Live Together."
Step 5: Mention we needed to learn our letters. Sing "ABC Rock." Hand out the die-cut letters A–Z. As students sing the song with the CD, they raise high the letter they are holding.
Step 6: Have students recite the poem, "When I Was One" by A. A. Milne.
Step 7: Have students recite their accomplishments.
Step 8: Sing the song "Friends."
Step 9: Leave the stage to the "Good-bye" song. I hug each student and hand out Kindergarten Certificates.
- Make graduation hats. I attach yarn and add a tassel to an 8- by 8-inch piece of construction paper. The children draw a picture of one of their accomplishments to glue onto the top of their hat. Example: counting to 100 by tens would have the numerals 10, 20, 30, etc.
- Display baby pictures at the celebration.
- Incorporate your bulletin board decorations or class mascot into the celebration. Clifford is our classroom mascot, and he wears a graduation hat and holds a kindergarten certificate in his mouth. At the end of the school year, my classroom bulletin board caption reads: Clifford celebrates a year's growth in kindergarten, and so do we!
- Read a different book about kindergarten to your class each day. See our book list of Books for the End of Kindergarten.
- Did the students participate?
- Interview parents. How do they feel their child has grown? Did they see their child's growth in this celebration?
- Did students learn songs?
- Did they feel a sense of accomplishment?
- Could they describe their growth to you?