However, whilst I personally don't understand the need for gowns & caps as if the children were actual graduates, I do see the worth of a graduation or leavers ceremony to mark the end of a preschool year.
I teach in a nursery unit attached to a primary school, the majority of the children in my class continue onto the primary, so therefore we don't call our end of year ceremony a leavers one but rather their graduation. Nursery is still very different to primary, despite new curriculums & the children are graduating from one system to another.
It is also our only public ceremony where the children perform for an audience as we have done away with a Christmas performance. As this usually takes place at the end of first term, I felt the children were not ready to go up on a stage & perform for their parents, some were always too shy or unsure to even go on the stage. Also, first term is all about settling-in & stopping routines to rehearse is not a good idea.
For the past 10 years we have just had a graduation ceremony, it is very low key. The children perform songs & rhymes they have already learned throughout the school year, learning only one new specific song for the day. They decorate cardboard crowns to wear on the day & as we usually wear a uniform, they wear their own clothes for the ceremony.
We practise on the stage in the big school 3 times before the actual day, this is plenty in my opinion; the first day it is all a novelty & by day 3 we usually have some of the older classes come to watch to give the children the sense of an audience.
Each child gets a certificate from the Principal of the school & this gives her a chance to chat individually to each child. The certificate celebrates all that they have achieved in their year at nursery.
It has become the tradition for the nursery staff to provide food for a small celebratory family party afterwards & this gives us all a chance to give something back to the children & their parents & wider family. It is also a lovely relaxed time when we get to chat to the parents & grandparents & celebrate the achievements of the ceremony & the whole year.
For the past 3 years the children have had their graduation ceremony on their last day of school, it helps to end the school year on a high note.
So whilst I am particularly in favour of going down the cap & gown route I do value having a graduation ceremony.