The theme for our blog this time is Moving to Secondary School.
We hope you enjoy it and also find our Top Tips for a successful transition at the end of the blog helpful.
So it's happened…………………… After nearly a year’s build up, the “Tween” (my second child), has left primary school.
She is now in that time where she is in transition to secondary school. In my experience of being a parent coach, I’ve come to the conclusion that for many of us, transitions are hard. Whether it's going from nursery school to reception, Primary to Secondary or from Secondary school to college or even university It's important to remember that it’s us as parents who are key to helping our child or teenager to manage change and model good strategies to cope.
When our children are returning to the same school after the holidays and are moving to the next year group, the Summer break feels safe. We know what's to come in September and we are pretty confident of what to expect. So we might not even give it a second thought until a week before the return when the excitement of new stationary and the stress of buying new shoes is upon us.
Primary school is like a big comfort blanket. We know everyone, and everyone knows us. The children are familiar with the environment, the rules, the staff, the routine. If we (the parent) have a worry, we can just grab the class teacher and have a quick word and usually things get sorted pretty quickly.
When we are facing the prospect of a new school and moving on to Secondary school, whether we are a child or parent those six weeks can, for some of us, be an anxious time. Six weeks of limbo. Not feeling like we belong anywhere. The thought of going from this safe and comfortable environment to the unknown entity of senior school can be nerve wracking for many parents and children. Change can feel scary.
I remember the Summer holidays before I started senior school …...I was terrified. When I was young the TV programme "Grange Hill" was my main source of information about the next chapter in my school life ….. Watching “Trisha Yates” and “Tucker Jenkins” negotiate their way around, it was no wonder I was petrified!!!!
Now days, on the whole, we are pretty good at transition. The children are supported and informed throughout Year six. They visit their new school several times. The Head of Year usually pays a visit and they are pretty prepared for what lies ahead.
Parents are often given information on how to prepare their child for the next step. Gone are the days of just rolling up in the first week of September and waiting for “Gripper” to steal your dinner money!!!!!!
Even though it might feel lovely for us all to stay at primary school forever, there comes a time for growth and change. It may feel like the end of an era but my advice is to do what I’ve done with my children and reframe it - after all it's the start of a new exciting chapter.
There are plenty of new experiences to be had, new friends to be made, new subjects to study, new clubs/activities to try out and of course the start of the journey into adult hood.
So just a few thoughts for those young people moving in to Year 7. These could be some of the best years of your life. Grab it with both hands and make yourself a promise;
Try new things.
Start an activity you've never done before. (you never know you could have a real talent for it).
Make friends with the people in your form that you don't already know.
Support others that are finding the change harder than yourself.
Try your best and never compare yourself to other people. We all have our own unique personalities, talents and gifts.
Just be yourself and be proud of the amazing young person you are turning into.
And as for us parents, let’s use this as an opportunity to build up their self esteem and encourage them to challenge the obstacles in their way.
Give them strength and confidence to deal with the difficulties that life will throw at them over the years. Encourage their independence and help them develop new life skills. Let’s really be proud of our children as they journey to the next stage of their lives, but most importantly of all help them to be proud of themselves!
Our Top Tips For A Successful Transition:
Be positive about your child’s transition to secondary school, be aware of your own fears/anxieties
Talk about what equipment they will need/visit the school website together and have fun shopping together and choosing the new things they will need
What about their school tie – can they tie it by themselves?
Practise the journey during the holiday so on the first day they are confident
Help them to study the school map so they get an idea where everything is in relation to the entrance, toilets, dining room, canteen, office etc.
Help them to problem solve (it’s a great life skill)
Do they know where to go if they feel worried?
Support your child’s organisation
If necessary, make prompt cards with lists of things they need for different lessons
Have a dedicated homework space at home with folders and a place to store everything
Establish and agree a homework routine
Ensure they get enough sleep and a good breakfast every day before school – start that routine one week before school begins
Ensure their bedroom is a media free zone – they can’t get a good night’s sleep if they are responding to group chat’s/texts/snap chat etc.
Help them to help themselves (packing their own bag) – don’t do it for them, just offer support and guidance
Organisation is the key!
If you can help teach them this skill, life will be much easier – TOP TIP start now!