Looking for some preschool graduation ideas? How about some pre-k graduation ideas you can do on the cheap? I hear you. While those magazine-worthy preschool graduation set-ups are tempting, they aren’t realistic for every preschool.
Here is how I created a kick-a$$ preschool graduation on less than $6 per child.
Cheap, But Sincere Graduation Ideas for Preschool
Being an in-home learning center, I have to budget money very carefully if I want to make a worthwhile profit off my tuition rates and still maintain a high caliber of teaching.
I always want the parents of my students to feel like their child is receiving the added perks of a commercial preschool with a larger budget, but also the benefits of a safe, nurturing, and enriching learning environment of a home-based preschool.
This means that I do have to cut some things, like a lunch service or transportation to filed trips. And it also means I have to be a little more creative when trying to plan the bigger events, like preschool graduation.
Turns out, you can offer a pretty special graduation for your preschoolers on a tight budget.
FAQ About Preschool Graduation
Preschool graduation is just like celebrating any other milestone or educational achievement. It helps children feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for their year of hard work and learning. It also helps ease any fears about going into kindergarten, and makes the transition to a new school more comfortable.
Recognize how much your preschoolers have grown throughout the year. I like to remind my preschoolers of how hard they have worked, and how they have learned to do hard things. That hard things makes us better learners, and that those same hard things can turn out to be really fun!
And then I tell my preschoolers how they get to continue this fun in kindergarten!
Don’t forget to thank parents for entrusting you with their preschooler, either.
Our schedule of events at our preschool graduation is pretty simple. Here’s what it looks like:
~ Thank parents and welcome preschoolers
~Talk to preschoolers about how proud of them you are
~ Have preschoolers sing a few songs
~ Present awards
Our graduation party is pretty simple, but in my opinion, it’s the perfect way to end the school year.
Preschool Promotion Ideas to Make Graduation Extra Special
These are not your typical ideas. Preschool, teachers are always looking for what is going to make that preschool graduation ceremony extra special, and these ideas do just that.
Preschool Graduation Caps
I was quickly priced out of the market when looking for preschool cap and gowns to purchase for graduation day. So instead of purchasing, I made my own diy graduation caps, and they turned out crazy cute!
Just grab a paper bowl and glue it to a square piece of poster board. Add a tassel and a chin strap and you have an easy graduation hat.
Get the full tutorial below.
Preschool Graduation Certificate
I made preschool graduation “diplomas” or certificates for my preschoolers. Rather than going with a traditional award like “Best ___” I made this memorial certificate that shared facts about each preschooler and added their cute little handprint, too.
During the graduation, I read the certificate aloud to the parents. This project cost me $0 out of pocket since I already had everything on hand.
Since our 2014 preschool graduation, I have made another printable, which you can download right here!
Free Preschool Graduation Certificate Download
Preschool Graduation Medallions
These preschool graduation medallions were an extra touch of something special for the students. They really responded to being given a medal during their graduation!
Basically, I just modge podged a cute circle cut-out onto the backside of frozen juice lids. Then, I hot glued some yarn to create a necklace, although ribbon will really amp up the design.
This project cost me $.79 for the printing, and nothing extra for the juice caps, (since I always save them for art and craft projects) and the string had already been purchased for the graduation caps.
Free Preschool Medallions for Graduation
Tie-Dye Graduation T-Shirts
This was by far the most expensive, however my very favorite of everything I did for preschool graduation.
In lieu of traditional graduation caps and gowns, we tie-dyed t-shirts! I had looked around online to possibly purchase a cap and gown set for each student, (that I would keep from year to year), however I just can’t convince myself to buy a set at $25 a piece!
The parents LOVED the shirts, as did my students! They looked so awesome all lined up with their caps and tie-dyed T-shirts, and the best part was that each student got to keep their t-shirt.
This project cost me a total of $18, ($6/pack of three t-shirts and another $6 for the smallest tie-dye set I could find). The black fabric paint for the names I already had on hand. This was well worth the cost.
Kindergarten Bound Sign F or Commemorative Photos
Every preschool graduation needs a way for parents to take commemorative photos of their little graduate!
This project was quick and simple. I used large markers to write the words “kindergarten bound” on a piece of poster board and placed it in a frame I have hanging in my bedroom. Students posed with the sign after the graduation so parents could take photos. This project cost me only $.19 since I bought the poster board at the dollar store.
Now, I admit, this sign is pretty darn basic. If you’re looking for something mot fancy that you can print off, try this one from Etsy.
Student Gift Baggies
I apologize for having no picture, but I put together some gift baggies for the students to take home. Each bag had a sample of party favors like bottle of bubbles, some candy, a Kool-Aid packet, a noise maker and two class photos, one of which had a special note from me on the back. I used dot markers to decorate brown lunch bags for the wrapping, and stapled them shut.
This project cost me no more than $8 for all of them.
Wanting to keep things simple and appealing to kids, I made cupcakes with frosting and served some water. All ingredients and serving supplies needed for the refreshments I already had on hand, so they were of no extra cost.
Just simple and sweet and a favorite treat of my preschoolers.
The Cost of Preschool Graduation
You can spend as little or as much as you want on preschool graduation.
I admit, I still love seeing the amped up, curated graduations that look like they come from some ritzy private, high-tuition preschool, but our little graduation was intimate and meaningful. I use the same approach for our yearly open houses at the beginning of the school year.
Expensive doesn’t mean better.
The total came to $29.98 for five students, equally $5.996 per student, which makes these preschool graduation ideas reachable for any child care center, no matter the budget.
Approaching preschool graduation in this way required more time on my part because so much of everything was home made, but it saved me over a month’s worth of tuition by doing it myself.
Preschool Graduation Songs
As a bonus, I also wanted to include some of the songs my preschoolers sang at their graduation. We practiced these for well over a month before the graduation so that we knew them by heart.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
Latrece Johnson says
Wonderful posts! I completely love the joy that is shown in these photos and your willingness to share the ideas leads me to know you highly enjoy your opportunity to care for and educate the children.
Sarah Punkoney says
Thanks for such a kind comment!
Kathleen Wininger says
Dear Sarah ,
Everything is adorable and done very well. I have been a preschool director for 30+ years now and I can truly see when someone is passionate about what they do. Thank God for wonderful home providers like you.
You are making a difference❤️
Sarah Punkoney says
Thank you for the kind comment! It has made my day! I do love teaching preschool very much and I work so hard to make my hoe program comparable to some of the best commercial programs. It takes a lot of work, parience and creativity, but those little learners are so worth it!
Super adorable! I work in a commercial preschool and our budget isn’t limitless either! We have one cap and gown that we take pictures of them in and put them on their certificates (for Kinders) or on a paper with a poem (for preschoolers). In fact, our cap and gown is actually adult size and they look so cute in it because it is all big. Perhaps you know a graduate who has a cap and gown to pass on…..
Sarah Punkoney says
I actually have my own cap and gown from my graduate degree, but can’t bring myself to bring it out. I love the idea of an adult sized gown. I’ll bet it would be super cute with a giant framed picture of a quote stating what year the kiddie will actually graduate.