Planning for high school success

Preparing your child with some skills will help the transition to high school

IF YOU think back to your own experience as an 11 or 12 year old, saying goodbye to primary school and getting ready to enter the big and exciting world of high school was both a little sad and somewhat scary. You may recall feeling anxious about the change as you leave the comfort of the familiar behind and prepare to enter the unknown – Year 7!

Kids are midway through the summer holidays now, so they’ve already come to terms with the sad part of leaving primary school and they are starting to think about what will happen on Day 1 of Year 7. Will I make new friends easily? What will the teachers be like? Will
I have classes with anyone I know? What happens if I can’t find a classroom? These are all typical questions of secondary school newcomers.

As a parent you want to see your child become excited at the idea of starting this new chapter in their life and you want to help keep any stress or anxiety to a minimum. The good news is there are some things you can do to help make their transition to high school as smooth as possible.

• Have conversations about the school and help them to become familiar with their new environment.

• Listen to your child and understand how they are feeling about the transition. If they are feeling anxious, run though some “what would you do if” scenarios to help build their confidence.

• Students are expected to be more independent in secondary school, so help them to become organised – consider buying a planner for their wall and encouraging them to write down activities (and assessments when the time comes) and to be forward thinking.

• Teach them about how to use a school diary

• Set them up with good study habits and set the expectation early that homework will be part of their daily lives, even if it’s revision or reading a book. For tips on good study habits, visit: http://theconversation.com/study-habits-for-success-tips-for-students-89147

• Do some practise transport runs before school starts and discuss what happens if something goes wrong and they miss their bus or train etc.

• Look at what extra-curricular activities the school offers and enrol your child in activities that interest them and will connect them with others who share the same interests.

In 2010, The Guardian published a helpful article for parents – Secondary school: how parents can help make the transition easier – with 10 tips on how to help children transition from primary school to secondary school.

Visit: www.theguardian.com/education/2010/aug/31/secondary-school-tips-parents