Luke is officially a preschool graduate and he couldn't be more proud. He has had the absolute best time this year in preschool, learned so much and made some great friends, so what better way to end than with a celebration of these cute kiddos.
A few days before graduation we went for his end of year testing. They reviewed recognition of capital and lower case letters, letter sounds, recognition of numbers 1-10 and basic shapes, and counting. Miss Nikki had marked what he knew when they tested at the beginning of the year so that we could see his progress. I was completely amazed at how much he has learned and retained. He struggled a little to distinguish between some of the lower case letters, but otherwise, he knew almost everything that was asked. At the beginning of the year he only knew a few in each category so the progress was huge. Luke is the very youngest in the class (most of the kids will go to kindergarten next year) and Miss Nikki said that he kept up with the rest of the kids without a problem. When we decided to start him in preschool, academics were actually secondary to me - I wanted him to make some friends and learn how to work with other adults and kids. Socially, his experience has been completely successful. He has really enjoyed being with the other kids - playing in the sand box, show and tell, puzzles, stories, and role playing. All of his academic successes are a total bonus and should set him for a great school year next year.
When he first arrived at the graduation, Luke seemed a little overwhelmed, and not quite ready to participate. The graduation started with a slide show with photos and video clips of memories and activities throughout the year. There were a lot of silly moments and by the time it was over, Luke was laughing and couldn't wait to get up on stage with his class. They sang several songs and each kid had a speaking part. Luke had worked hard to memorize his and he was so happy to stand up and say the full thing without any help. In fact, we practiced with him so much that I think the whole family knows the part - including Ruby...."Hi, my name is Luke. This year Miss Nikki taught us all about the Winter Olympics. We had bobsled races and rode the luge." It was so cute to watch all of the kids and how excited they were when the program was over. I loved the sense of accomplishment that it instilled.
Oh how this boy loves Miss Nikki. The night before the graduation I went in to kiss him good night and he was crying great big tears. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he was really going to miss Miss Nikki and he was so sad not to go back to preschool. I told him I understood and that he was lucky to have had such a great teacher. Then I reminded him that he could still visit Miss Nikki and see her a lot. That seemed to cheer him up a little. We could not have asked for a better teacher for Luke's first school experience. She obviously loves the kids and loves what she does, and everyone around her can feel it - especially Luke.
When we were about ready to go,
He said that he needed just one more picture with Miss Nikki.
I missed getting a better shot of this "group hug", but I loved watching the moment. It was such a carefree, unscripted moment between these little buddies. I am sad for Luke that he won't get to say his playmates each week.
Family support is the best and I am so glad Luke has experienced that early.
This page from his yearbook brought back so many memories - it doesn't seem possible that he has experienced so much in what feels like such a short time. The process of graduating and all that it meant for Luke did get me a little emotional. As his mama, I want to see Luke soar and experience every good thing that is out there. But it is so hard for me to lose my baby and let him fly. Seems like a sentiment I will be expressing for the rest of his life.