April 16, 2021
Every year, a group of students in our school undergo a big change in their lives, moving from the Primary School to Secondary School. Most of the students look forward to this change with a sense of excitement, seeing it as an opportunity.
Ana Maria Dobre
International British School of Bucharest
Every year, a group of students in our school undergo a big change in their lives, moving from the Primary School to Secondary School. Most of the students look forward to this change with a sense of excitement, seeing it as an opportunity to start anew, with greater independence, with experiences to be enjoyed, and new friends to make. For others though, the first day of Secondary School can be in equal parts exciting and terrifying: new classmates, new courses, new teachers, and new expectations can all be sources of anxiety for them.
From both groups, we can expect questions regarding social interactions (being around older children, not knowing the rules) and academic expectations (having different teachers, extra lessons, and more homework). This transition is a big stepping-stone, which can seem a little intimidating to parents and kids.
Thankfully we are doing a lot to help both the students and parents prepare for this transition. One way we are helping as a school is by maintaining a mentoring relationship with all the children, having opened conversations about what they can expect (for example: their responsibilities, the programme, new lessons, getting around the facility, behaviour expectations, break times and socializing with older pupils), inviting the Year 7 students into the primary school to talk about their experience moving from Year 6 to Year 7 and life in the Secondary, and offering the students a chance to experience Year 7 lessons, with the Secondary School teachers coming across to the primary school to teach a lesson and answer questions the Year 6 students might have, and finally arranging time with the school counsellors.
The children from Year 6 have 3 key sessions with the school counsellors to discuss personal values in connection with school values and the social, emotional skills needed to thrive in the secondary school environment – relating to building positive, healthy relationships, communicating effectively, effective time management, maintaining personal care and safety, and community participation.
Through our conversations and actions, we can all help (parents and teachers working together) the children to deal with their fears and identify the positive aspects of the move to middle school.
Here are some books that can help parents to better understand and support the pupil’s transition: