TEESSIDE youngsters celebrated their graduation from nursery school in yellow caps and gowns at a special ceremony.

The Montessori People nursery, at the High Flyers Children Centre in Tedder Avenue, Thornaby, congratulated the four and five-year-old children at its annual occasion.

The nursery, which encourages children to be independent from an early age, welcomed parents and members of the Children’s Services Department, the Children’s Centre and The Finlay Cooper Fund, its charity partner.

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The excited pre-schoolers, who have all been at the nursery from the age of one, performed one of their favourite songs ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’ using sign language while singing, after they were presented with a scroll which was bound by a ribbon in the colour of The Montessori People’s green logo.

Michelle Tudor, director of The Montessori People, said: “We are all very proud and as always emotional to see them leave.”

Thomas Mckibbin, aged four, who particularly enjoyed the tea party after the ceremony, added: "I had a lovely day and liked graduating.”

Lianne Mckibbin, Thomas’s mum, said: "It’s such a lovely thing for the nursery to do. Thomas has been here since he was a baby so this ceremony is a nice way to finish.”

The day was held in honour of The Finlay Cooper Fund, which The Montessori People has recently partnered up with.

So far the nursery team has raised £800 for the charity, which was formed in 2006 by Hartlepool manager Colin Cooper and his wife, Julie, and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for children's charities in the North-East and south London.