Children deserve to be lifted up and celebrated. In fact, they crave it. Children often look to adults for this confirmation. It’s important that children know how completing something feels. This can set a strong foundation for commitment and motivation.
Starting graduation ceremonies in the early years helps children understand the importance of education. They feel proud that they have completed Preschool or Pre-K and are excited that they get to move on to bigger and better things. We set them up on the road to accomplishment by allowing them to feel and be celebrated.
Virtual graduation celebration
A virtual graduation ceremony is not only a good way to celebrate during COVID, but also to reach a big audience. The convenience of our virtual world right now cannot be denied. Perhaps a child has grandparents across the country? Perfect – they can attend! Just sign onto the virtual ceremony. This is also an option that has the potential to be saved and replayed at a later date, or for years to come. That makes it pretty special.
What you need to plan a virtual graduation
- Computer or tablet with a webcam
Ideally, the larger the screen, the better. If you want to go one step further, you can even hook your device up to your TV with an HDMI cable to really feel like the caregivers are right there with you.
- Strong internet connection
Ensure that you have a good and stable Internet connection so that your stream doesn’t get choppy or disconnected.
Unsure if your Internet connection is good? Try watching a YouTube or Netflix video. Is the quality good or does it look really fuzzy? Does the video play right away or does it keep stopping and starting while it’s trying to load? If you’re having trouble playing your video, that is a sign that your connection won’t be reliable and you should consider upgrading your plan.
And finally, when you’re hosting your graduation, close any programs that you don’t need so they are not slowing down your device or connection.
- Group video chat software
Once you have all the hardware to get connected, you’ll need to choose some software. There are many free group video chat software options out there, and here are some of the most popular ones:
- Zoom — A maximum of 100 participants can join and their free plan offers a total meeting length of 40 minutes.
- Skype — A maximum of 50 participants can join a video chat for free.
- Google Hangouts — A maximum of 25 participants can join a video chat and the service is free.
Hosting your virtual graduation event
Run a test
Try hosting a group video chat with a few colleagues to test out your software before your actual event. There are many little details that you will only discover after actually starting an event — such as learning how to unmute your microphone, show your webcam, share your screen, or troubleshoot why your microphone or camera isn’t working — so it is best to know what these are ahead of time so you can be fully prepared for everything that comes your way.
Send a calendar invite with instructions
Make sure everyone has your event blocked out in their calendars, along with any helpful information so they’ll remember where to find it when the time comes, such as:
- The date and time of the event.
- How long the event is.
- A description of the event.
- A link to join the event (and any access codes or passwords if required).
You will likely experience a couple of hitches along the way, whether it’s your Internet connection freezing, someone’s microphone or webcam not working at first, and so on. If your event isn’t going as planned and you can’t figure out why at first, take a deep breath and take your time to resolve the problem. Those who have managed to join can even be encouraged to take this time to catch up amongst themselves!
Turn off notifications
Minimize distractions for you and your families by asking everyone to turn off notifications on their phones and shut down any computer programs that have notifications during the event. These can take away from the children’s concentration and even be startling if the notification volumes are loud.
Record your graduation celebration
If the software you’re using allows you to record your event, it never hurts to hit the record button. This way you’ll be able to include families who weren’t able to attend the event and this will give you great content to send to parents in the future!