Slice of Life: Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony
Less than 2 weeks ago kindergartens in Takayama held their graduation ceremonies. It was very formal, serious, and cute. All kindergarten students were in attendance, in full uniform (they have a few uniforms, but this is the one they wear for travel and going out). Students sat in the front/middle of the room closest to the school headmaster/principal/dean. Mothers and some guests & speakers sat on the sides in the front. In the back were rows of seating for the rest of the students’ families (fathers, grandparents, etc.).
The students wait patiently in line to reach the podium where the principal holds their diplomas to commemorate the past 3 years of hard work. It’s a very formal ceremony for these 60+ kids who are all about 6 years old.
The principal calls their name.
The student steps up to the front of the podium.
They extend the right hand to receive their book, then the left hand, while clearly, loudly, & proudly saying ‘a-ri-ga-tou go-za-i-masu! (thank you very much!)’ for everyone to hear, and bow to the principal.
Then they walk to the microphone about 10 paces away.
Once the next student’s name is called & they say thank you, the previous student makes a statement to the effect of ‘I had a great time in kindergarten, and I pledge to try hardest at my future studies!’.
After their short speech, they walk another 10 paces to their waiting mother who takes the diploma and hugs the student. Then both mother & student return to their appropriate seat.
Men were basically all in suits, mothers in dresses, or at least dressed very professionally, and a few women wore kimonos, such as this woman who was seated in front of us. We were in dress shirts & ties with suit jackets. A few principals from the local elementary schools were on hand to give a short speech as well, and after the speeches, the students sang a couple of songs before the ceremony ended after about 90 minutes.