When it comes to working with children and families it’s important to pause and celebrate accomplishments of all types, whenever they happen. Here at Verbal Beginnings, we take celebration seriously… just as seriously as we take our commitment to providing top-notch care. We recently had a big reason to celebrate as we held one of our in-house graduations, a time to congratulate and send off a child that’s moving on from our programs. Here to give a behind-the-scenes look at what this graduation is all about is Clinical Supervisor Shannon Fitzpatrick.
Clearly, graduation day is a big deal… tell us about what this event is like?
Graduation is such a fun event for staff, kids, and parents. We like to invite family members to the event, and we welcome all staff and other kids from the center to join as well. They all gather in a room, and the Clinical Supervisor gets to welcome the child and announce the reason for the graduation, which includes how far the child has come and what’s in store for the future. Our kids love wearing the cap and gown, which really makes it a special moment for parents!
Why is it such a big deal? And what’s next for the child?
This is a big deal because it signifies a big transition and a lot of progress being made here at the center. A lot of times next steps include going to school and maybe getting in-home services after school, or just being able to graduate to learning in a school environment.
What are the kids’ reactions to the experience?
Kids’ reactions vary depending on the child, but they always enjoy a room full of people clapping for them, even if they don’t entirely understand the significance! They’re so young, so we really just try to make it fun for them with cupcakes, dance parties, and a lot of cheering and clapping.
And this is probably a significant experience for parents too, right?
Parents really enjoy this experience. Parents at the center go through a lot of training and changes at home while they’re with us, so it really is a time for them to reflect on how much the family has grown as a unit, and to reminisce about how far their child has come!
How often is this happening at Verbal Beginnings?
We graduate a lot of kids at the end of the summer as school approaches. It’s hard to guess, but definitely a handful of kids a year.
Why is graduation so fulfilling to you personally?
Graduation is fulfilling because my job is so fast-paced, and it allows us to reflect on how much progress has been made with one particular client. It also allows me to show how grateful I am to a family for being open to the process, and how thankful I am to the staff who have helped this child grow.