IT WAS time for children to put their pre-school days behind them and look to the future at Busy Bees Nursery as they were handed ‘diplomas’ at a graduation ceremony.

Staff at the Peatmoor pre-school gave their young pupils a much-deserved send-off last week with a fun party, games and of course the obligatory rite of passage – a graduation.

Proudly wearing hats, as befits such a ceremony, 52 children took to the podium one by one to receive a certificate with messages and best wishes from their teachers in front of their parents.

“It’s something we do every year because a lot of these children have been here since they were babies,” said Danielle Scott, senior room manager at Busy Bees. “We like to give them a send-off.

“There was a face-painting gazebo and we had a party. They were all dressed up so we had princesses and many Spidermen and Supermen. It took a lot of planning but the children were involved and they helped to make the graduation hats.

“They are all going off to 10 or more different schools so some of them probably won’t see as much of each other. So it was nice for them to spend time together.”

A pear tree was planted to mark the children’s time at the nursery.

With activities planned throughout the afternoon on Wednesday, the festivities were the ideal way to smooth their transition to primary school.

While children enjoyed one last day together oblivious to the world around them, the graduation proved emotional for staff as they reflected on the four years spent looking after their young charges.

“It was emotional for us,” added Danielle. “We gave out certificates and all the staff wrote on them how they would remember the children. It was a very proud moment when the children individually went to the podium and said they loved Busy Bees. It was really nice to see them all confident. It just builds their self-esteem.

“It won’t kick in until they’ve all left – some are staying until a bit later in July. It was a happy time for everyone and we could see they were all happy and confident to fly the nest.”