The move from primary to high school can be a time of excitement and new experiences. It can also be challenging or worrying for some students. Helping your child prepare for high school and making them feel supported will reduce the risk of disengagement from school in the future.
Here’s our top tips for Year 7 students to make the giant leap into high school.
What to expect
- Relationships – your child will meet new people, make new friends, and need to re-establish their position within a peer group.
- School work – students will need to adapt to new teaching and assessment styles, cope with a wide range of subjects, adjust to having different teachers and classrooms, become responsible for their own learning, manage a heavier homework load, and learn a new, complex timetable.
- Getting around – your child will have to adjust to a new school or different part of the College, get to class on time with the correct books and materials and possibly cope with new transport arrangements.
- Adolescent developmental changes – your child will be experiencing normal developmental changes during this time (physical changes, emotional swings, an increased desire for independence). Peers will become a greater influence in their life.
How to help your child transition to high school
- Encourage your child to develop their independence by looking after their own belongings, using a diary to plan their homework and activities, and reading their timetable.
- Ensure they have everything needed to support their learning – stationery, books, bag and uniform.
- Familiarise yourself with the College’s policies and procedures so you can answer questions and support your child’s decision making.
- Discuss what they’re most looking forward to and what they’re worried about. Give your child lots of reassurance, emphasise the positives and highlight new opportunities your child will have.
- Involve your child in decision making.
After your child starts high school
- Find out who your child’s tutor teacher is and make contact or ask questions.
- Create a suitable study area at home, away from television or mobile phones. If your child has access to the internet, ensure they are visiting appropriate websites.
- Assist your child in developing a homework/study plan and provide supervision and accountability of homework.
- Attend parent nights and interviews. Keep in regular contact with class teachers and support staff (email is a great way to do this).
- Encourage your child to join an extra-curricular program and make the most of all opportunities offered by the College.
- Discuss your child’s achievements, results and reports with them and help them set future learning goals.
- Talk to other parents to gauge if your child’s experiences and feelings are similar to those of others.
- Ensure your child gets plenty of sleep, eats well and gets regular exercise – this is important for a successful transition to high school.
- Maintain consistent routines with your child – set bedtimes and morning routines.
- Celebrate milestones with your child – the first day, first week and end of term.
Signs your child may not be coping
There may not be obvious or visible signs if things are not going well for your child. Be conscious of any changes in your child’s behaviour, attitude, communication or reactions that are different to what you would normally expect.
For example, they may:
- show a lack of involvement;
- lose confidence or self-esteem;
- refuse to talk about school or friends/peers;
- have no desire to go to school or refuse to go;
- show a decline in academic performance;
- become withdrawn or display excessive behaviours; or
- become easily emotional (crying or angry at the slightest instance).
What to do if your child is having difficulties adjusting to high school
It is important you don’t wait for things to improve on their own. Talk to your child to find out what the issues are. Be aware they may be reluctant to open up to you. It’s also a good idea to have a discussion with your child’s tutor teacher, Head of House or College Counsellor so they can assist in developing strategies to address any issues.
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