The transition from elementary to middle school is incredibly difficult for many students. Instead of the nurturing elementary school environment where students were allowed more freedom to play, middle school students face a variety of new circumstances: around eight teachers, instead of one or two; becoming one of around 150 students that their teacher sees every day, instead of one of a couple of dozen; increased homework; and the need to be responsible for navigating from one class to the next by themselves, instead of following in line with their classmates. Not only that, middle school students are entering the years of their lives where they will experience the greatest personal changes. You want your child to have a smooth transition from elementary school to middle school. Utilizing these tools will help prepare your child for middle school and ensure a smooth transition.
1. Talk About It
Is your child excited by changing schools or intimidated by it? Does your child have specific concerns about middle school? Take the time to talk through the transition ahead of time. Discuss everything that your child needs to expect, from navigating the hallways to keeping up with homework assignments. If your child has any worries, talk through them and discuss how they can navigate any obstacles they’re expecting.
2. Set Them Up for Success
When your child headed off for kindergarten, you packed a backpack full of all the supplies on the list to make sure they had everything they needed. As they head off to middle school, you’ll need to do the same thing again. Purchase or acquire the tools your child will need for academic success. You know your child’s weaknesses and the areas where they struggle. Get them what they need to make middle school easier! For example, a child who struggles to find new locations might benefit from a map of the school or the chance to walk through it before their first day of classes. A child who is constantly distracted might benefit from a fidget object to keep their hands busy while their mind is working. If your child has trouble keeping up with homework, a great planner or planner app can make it easier.
3. Get Tutoring if Necessary
The academic demands of middle school are much more stringent than the demands made of elementary school students. If your child has lagged behind in any of their subject areas or is having trouble keeping up, getting help prior to middle school is critical to their continued success! Working with a qualified tutor will help your child prepare to meet the academic milestones they need in order to besuccessful throughout the transition.
4. Get Social
The transition to middle school often means new opportunities to make friends and get involved. Start discussing social activities with your child: clubs and sports that interest them, groups they’d like to be part of, or friends that they’d like to make sure they connect with in middle school. Social fears are a serious concern for many middle school students. By providing your student with opportunities to socialize, you’ll discover that they’re better prepared for everything they’ll face in middle school.
5. Change the Way You Communicate
In elementary school, parent involvement was understood. You got notes home from your child’s teacher on a regular basis and could expect an email or phone call any time things didn’t go well. As your child enters middle school, teacher communication will change–but that doesn’t mean you have to give up this insight into your child’s academic career! Instead, find new ways to connect with teachers. Volunteer for field trips and school events to make opportunities to meet in person. Connect through email or over the phone with your child’s teachers whenever you have concerns. They still want to work with you!
Middle school may be intimidating for your child, but with clear preparation, you can provide your child with everything they need in order to make a successful transition. Don’t take a “wait and see” attitude to discover whether or not your child will thrive! Instead, take the steps necessary to provide them with everything they need. If you want a caring middle school environment where your child’s academic success will be top priority, contact us today to learn more.