Graduation Day

It’s mayhem at the Guarderia. Their babies are growing up.

200 or so people are gathered to see the class of 2007/2008 graduate. Grandmamas and Grandpapis have bagged the best seats to watch the apples of their eyes parade.

Our daughter has been at the nursery for about 21 months. A year ago, when we watched the class of 2006/2007 graduate I would not have believed that she could have sat still with a silly hat on her head, but to my deep and misty-eyed pride, she does. Her class is first up, 20 kids walk in a crocodile from their classroom to the stage set up in the playground. They all walk in the same way – one step, stop, one step, stop; they all have their hands clasped behind their backs, and they are all looking with complete trust and confidence at Tia Maria, their teacher, who leads them onto the stage. I start to fill up as 1000’s of euros worth of cameras and video recorders are taken off of ‘pause’ and start to record the event for posterity. It’s a total scrum to get to see the stage, but I manage to find a vantage point where I can gaze at my daughter and bask in the pride that I feel for her as she accepts her diploma and gift from the council, doesn’t throw off her silly mortarboard-styled hat and behaves herself perfectly with her peers.

I’m surrounded by people who I have complete trust and confidence in, other parents who have supported me when I have needed help, and who I have supported too. The teachers at the nursery kiss and hug their charges, there is an air of celebration and achievement here. I simply can’t imagine how this scene could be replicated in the UK where teachers are not allowed to touch their pupils, where they cannot comfort them when they are upset or congratulate them when they do well.

The buffet has been contributed to by all of the parents, there’s plenty of coca, the cheese-free pizza like speciality from Mallorca, and there’s pastries, slices of chorizo, chunks of tortilla and crisps. The kids all head for the crisps and then the pop. Soon we have 70 under 3s buzzing on sugar and colourings. Time to go home.

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