Child Development II hosts Tiny Cats Graduation Ceremony


As he waits with his peers Walker and Cash on child-sized chairs, Tiny Cats student Beckett smiles as his parent takes a photo. The Tiny Cats lined up in rows before walking across the stage as part of their graduation ceremony from the mock-preschool program. The teacher prepared by gathering facts and favorite items of their students to share with the audience as they walked the stage. “Last minute, Aiden decided he wanted Captain America and not The Hulk, which we had already written down,” Shainker said. “He started crying because he said he actually wanted to Captain America when he grows up.” Photo by Alyssa Folmer

As they stepped onto a makeshift stage fastened out of two desks placed in front of a projector displaying their names and favorite things – the Tiny Cats Preschool Class of 2023 walked in a mini graduation ceremony as their parents, friends and grandparents cheered in the audience May 22.

From about 10-11 a.m. in J-11, Mrs. Jennifer Armas’ Child Development II class hosted a commencement ceremony for their group of preschool-aged children after a semester caring for them. As part of the real-life experiences included in the Child Development CTE pathway, students plan, prepare and teach lessons to young children to help develop a more realistic understanding of childhood development.

The graduation itself took around three weeks to plan. Armas planned the majority of the ceremony, while students helped by creating personalized “yearbooks” for each student.

“Over the course of the entire semester that we’ve been with them, we had been taking pictures of Tiny Cats during [their] classes and posting them on Facebook,” Tiny Cats teacher Celeste Ruiz said. “We had to download the pictures to make a little Google Slides presentation, then we turned that into a yearbook with little scrapbooks and stuff on all their pictures.”

Teachers gave the yearbooks, along with craft supplies and stickers to the Tiny Cats families after the children walked the stage. The teachers also provided snacks and drinks, including cookies, savory snack bags, fruit, cheese sticks and juice boxes, that were available for a 30-minute period after the ceremony. During this time, teachers took pictures with the Tiny Cats and children played with hula hoops and blocks. A maroon and gold photo booth gave families a chance to capture pictures of students and teachers.  

“I think [the kids] really liked it. I also think they also liked having everybody clap for them and being the center of attention,” Kylie Shainker said. “I think it made them feel like big kids – I’m going to miss them so much.”