In the past I’ve seen pictures of an American preschool graduation — in which they ludicrously dressed kids up in gowns and (mortarboard) caps. I’ve only worn a cap and gown once in my life — for my university graduation, after three years of (sometimes) hard slog earning my bachelor’s degree.
This type of academic dress dates back to medieval times, and is steeped in history. Maybe it’s just me, but it strikes me as devaluing the meaning and significance of achieving a graduate-level education if they dress little kids in the same stuff — particularly at kindergarten level where, let’s face it, it’s pretty much impossible to not pass. Why do we insist on dressing kids up like adults anyway?
Isaac’s primary school graduation last night had none of that. Smart casual was the order of the day. The programme included a couple of musical numbers, presentations to the kids of a certificate (and they got to say a few words each — quite amusing in some cases) and a couple of speeches from staff members. The principal noted that this group was the first he’d seen go right through primary school, and that he believed they were a talented and genuinely nice group of kids — something that struck a chord with me since that day I saw some of the senior kids in action in the school yard. And he reckoned very few of them had ever been sent to his office!
It seems so recent that Isaac started primary school. Time really does fly.
A couple of weeks ago was his high school orientation day. High school, even government high school, is an expensive business, as it turns out. Some $600 in annual fees, $500 in books (some of which will last multiple years), and we haven’t even got onto the uniforms yet. But I’m confident it will be a good quality, effective education, which is the most important thing.
There should be a state government $300 school start bonus coming our way, which will help. Not that I’m scrounging; I’m sure there’s people struggling with the costs more than me, let alone those sending their kids to private schools next year, who could be spending tens of thousands of dollars.