Graduation is a rite of passage… even if you are only topping out of nursery school

It was ridiculous and wonderful and our son refused to wear the regalia – but I was an absurdly proud dad

It was a blisteringly hot day when I, my wife and our four-month-old daughter decamped to the nursery’s garden to await the procession. My son had entered with us, but was soon marshalled back inside as we took our seats – my wife and daughter taking a child’s chair that sat about 4in above the ground, while I hunkered down on a low wall that ran along some plant beds. We sat for some minutes, awaiting the unshowy, dignified affair we’d been promised, in which a succession of absurdly cute four-year-olds would pass through a sliding glass door and emerge, triumphantly, as graduates.

Graduation. The logical endpoint of any student’s labours – in my son’s case, two years of finger painting, picture books and tactile play – replicated here in a scaled-down satire of university convocation. I hadn’t been expecting this event before the email arrived a few days previously and I quickly became very excited. I did know nursery graduations existed, from people complaining about them online. Usually the sort of furious, red-faced scolds who’d clearly taken a five-minute break from screaming about pronouns or vegan sausage rolls so they could decry such fanfare as ridiculous or silly. I mean, a graduation ceremony for a dozen four-year-olds is ridiculous and silly, but that’s precisely what’s so wonderful about it.

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