06/29/2016 02:12 EDT | Updated 11/22/2016 05:48 EST

Kindergarten Graduation Is About The Cutest Thing Ever

Before I had kids, I heard about this phenomenon of "kindergarten graduation." And, to be honest, I didn't quite understand it. It sounded like yet another reason I'd have to sit in a hot, school gym and book an afternoon off work. Kind of annoying, in fact.

Back in the '80s, we didn't have any ceremonies, gowns or stapled-together hats to mark moving on to grade one. Was this a sign of our over-congratulatory culture? But then I had a kid and I quickly realized finishing kindergarten is a big deal and well-worth celebrating.

For my kid, kindergarten was a transition year -- from daycare to a much more structured school setting. Finishing kindergarten meant saying good-bye to the sand box and music station and hello to sitting in rows, chalkboards and workbooks. I felt like she was about to take a huge leap into big-kid territory.

And, to be honest, she struggled in grade one. It was hard for her to get used to the new rules and all the sitting down and being still. For the first time, she talked about not liking school. Thankfully, she got used to it and eventually adjusted.

So while my daughter was grinning ear to ear over her accomplishments, the attention and applause during her grad, I was a little teary as I silently watched her take a big step forward in the world.

As the school year comes to a close across Canada, many parents are sitting in sweaty gyms, watching their five-year-olds graduate, just like I did many moons ago. A big hug to all of you witnessing a major milestone and congratulations to the cutest graduates.

In honour of the Class of 2016, we've rounded up some sweet Instagram photos.

Happy #kindergartengraduation 💐. Stick to those dreams! 😄

A photo posted by @lichtitaylor on

Last day of SK for this Grad. #kindergartengraduation

A photo posted by Dave Kramer (@kramersrf) on

Graduation day! #kindergarten #graduation #kindergartengraduation #school

A photo posted by Kristina Kay Bernal Judas (@kkayjudas) on

#mygirl #kindergartengraduation #french #beautiful #soproud #lovehersomuch

A photo posted by @breegaylene420 on

#kidconcert #singing #musicteacher #lastdayofschool #kindergartengraduation #toosweetforwords

A photo posted by @rosebianchini on

First/Last day of Kindergarten. I have mixed emotions😊😭 #kindergartengraduation

A photo posted by Stephanie Kuzio (@kuziostephanie) on

My baby is a kinder graduate. Off to the real world of grade 1. #tears #kindergartengraduation #kinder #mybaby #grade1

A photo posted by LeeAnn Beckwith (@leeannbeckwith) on

Celebrating the Kindergarten Grad! #kindergarten #kindergartengraduation

A photo posted by mehul (@macxavier420) on

#my1stgrader #kindergartengraduation

A photo posted by @jenruiz189 on

#latepost #mybaby #kindergartengraduation #loveher #mybiggirl #daddyprincess #daddylittlegirl

A photo posted by Rey Guzman (@ray_ray0526) on

☺️love them #kids #adorable #kidergarten #kindergartengraduation #cousins

A photo posted by Kathlene Jaylynne Eley (@kathjayexoxo) on


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