As the week progresses, the knots in the stomachs of our staff team get tighter. The songs have been practised the routine and plan for the day has been reviewed, discussed and practised countless times.

The children excitedly try on the graduation gowns in nursery as they discuss with staff their dreams and aspirations for big school and beyond. For our staff team it is one of the most wonderful times of the year but also one of the most stressful and anxiety inducing.

It will come as no surprise to parents that a career in childcare is a vocation. Each year the team give up their free time to put on a memorable and special graduation ceremony and performance for the children and families. So much effort is made behind the scenes, all with the children and families in mind.

Then the day arrives, the staff team collectively manage about and 2 hours sleep what with the waking up in a panic that the music won’t work or that some kind of natural disaster will take place preventing the graduation from going ahead. We all arrive early to display the children’s art work and triple check that all of the gowns and headbands are there.

However, as soon as our families start to arrive on the day slowly the nerves disappear. Our children arrive dressed in their best, smiling and excited to perform for their parents and grandparents, the older siblings who had their graduation years previously sharing their memories of their special day with their younger siblings and families.

As the children get up on to the stage to sing, dance and perform for their families our staff team are filled with an enormous sense of pride. Next comes the slideshow, a collection of lovely images of the children throughout their time at Little Owls. Of course, the lyrics of ‘Rod Stewarts Forever Young’ which plays in the background are the ultimate tear jerker too!

Finally, the graduation element comes around, from the side lines we watch the children and parents bursting with pride as they step on to the stage to collect their certificate. At these moments I take time to watch the parents faces beam and sometimes shed a tear as their child takes centre stage for a moment or two. Its at that moment that its all worth it, the anxiety, the sleepless nights are all worth it to create that special memory for children and families.

So I would like to say thank you, especially to the families who have taken time to write an email, or just take the time to show their appreciation the staff team. Graduation day is and always will be one of the worst and the best days of the year for the Little Owls staff team, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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