May 22, 2014

“Well, that was different.”

Yesterday, our preschool held four separate Silver and Gold ceremonies for the four different classes.  

Despite a little noise from the wood chipper next door, the trash truck rumbling through, and thunder rolling in the distance, all four ceremonies proceeded smoothly. Rain clouds darkened and lightened, we had a Plan B in place in case it poured, but it stayed dry all day and we had a wonderful time with our preschoolers and their families.

Our Silver and Gold ceremonies are markers of an important transition in every preschooler’s time at Friends – as well as for our graduating fifth graders and other elementary students next week.  It is a time to walk over the bridge from the year past into the adventures ahead, and for our teachers to acknowledge some of the unique characteristics of each of their students. The Silver and Gold ceremony has been part of Friends’ School tradition since our school’s founding in 1987.

Each preschooler walked over an actual bridge decorated in fabric of silver and gold. Many paused for a moment at the highest point so that eager parents could snap a picture.  Our teachers put a bead necklace around each child, sprinkled him or her with a little fairy glitter, presented a memory book of photographs from the year, and read each student’s naming.

Namings, as many of you know, are brief poems that encapsulate special qualities of each child.  Examples of names are “Proud Prince of the Block Structure” or “Daring Duke of New Adventures” – a catchy and meaningful phrase that epitomizes a particular strength or interest of each child.  All namings end with the words “….and Friend” because friendship, social competence, and mutual respect and empathy are some of the founding cornerstones of our school.

Most of the preschoolers yesterday took their short time in the spotlight in stride.  They paused on the bridge; many waved. They were gladly sprinkled with glitter, listened to their naming, picked up their photo book and ran proudly back to mom and dad, and sometimes grandparents, in the audience. Parents and teachers beamed with happiness, kids often smirked with pride at making it through.

My favorite moment came when one 4 year old boy returned to his parents and exclaimed, loud enough for the rest of us to hear, “Well, that was different.” 

We laughed, but it was. It was different. He was right.

The whole thing was a true celebration of individuals honored for who they are, a recognition of the significance of upcoming change and transition, a time for every child to be honored by amazing teachers who know them each so very well, a moment for parents to capture on film a watershed moment in their child’s growth, and an occasion for a community to focus on its smallest members.

These moments are few and far between in each of our lives. They must be cherished.

Events like our Silver and Gold ceremony do not happen everywhere.  At Friends’, it’s a little bit different and a lot a bit wonderful.

1 comment:

Sandra Shevlin said...

Well written article and a beautiful celebration it was!!! Friends school is quite special and this is another perfect example!