How to Help Your Child Transition Smoothly from Primary to Secondary School
Moving from primary school to secondary school is an exciting milestone for both parents and students. Students are about to experience a new school life alongside older students, learn new subjects and be challenged with a harder workload. Meanwhile, parents will also have to adjust to the changes a new school will bring about in their children’s lives, such as their new schooling arrangements, academic curriculum and involvement in their children’s education.
Every child will certainly have a different reaction when it comes to starting a new school. While some may adapt easily, others may need extra help to transition smoothly from primary to secondary school.
To help ensure a flawless transition for your child, here are some tips you can follow together:
Plan their trip to school
If your child used to be on a school service when going to primary school, you should take the time to help them work out their journey to secondary school. Most secondary schools around Singapore are in city centers and may not offer school services for students. You can help your child by mapping out their travel route to and from school together. Be sure to write down which train to get and how to get to their school from the station so that your child can refer to it later on. Practice taking the route several times together until your child gets used to it and is comfortable travelling on their own.
In case their primary route is not available, you can go through alternative ways for them to get to school. You should also take the time to remind your child to stay alert in their surroundings and explain how to stay safe during their journey.
Give your child some leeway
When your child is in primary school, they definitely need adult supervision to know what they should and shouldn’t do. Some activities also require adults to be on standby in case of emergencies and other mishaps. However, once your child reaches secondary school, they will be old enough to try to do things by themselves and make decisions on their own. You can gradually give them more independence with regards to which route they take to school, how to sort out their stuff in the morning, and so on.
It’s important to make sure that they are familiar with what they need to do such as wearing a tie or riding the bus to school. Practice with them in order to help them get settled into their new routine while slowly reducing your involvement as they gain confidence. Keep your doors open should your child need help with certain things and make sure that you are always there to help them with a smile.
Check the school curriculum
Secondary schools have a more demanding academic workload than primary schools, which can be a shock for many first-year students upon entering secondary school. Schools will vary when it comes to their academic curriculum, which sets out everything that the student will be learning throughout the school year. Some schools may have a very fast-paced curriculum designed to get students used to a faster learning pace, and this may potentially overwhelm your child.
In order to stay informed about the curriculum followed at your child’s school, check the school’s website or ask your school’s academic advisers to share an overview of the curriculum with you. This will allow you to be prepared for what’s to come and to get an idea beforehand about your child’s ability to handle this new curriculum.
You may also wish to speak to your child’s academic advisers from their primary school to get their opinion on your child’s ability to follow the new curriculum and to be aware of some of the potential challenges they may face. If your child has the tendency to get overly stressed when they have many academic requirements or during examination periods, you may need to seek intervention or academic counselling. You can sit down with them during these sessions, so that you know how to help your child overcome their learning difficulties and succeed in their studies.
Bring some familiarity into their school routine
Some students tend to freak out when they enter a new school as they are no longer familiar with their surroundings. If you want your child to transition smoothly to secondary school, you should introduce some familiar elements into their school life. For example, you can accompany them to their school’s events and encourage them to meet students from their new school through social media or other means. This will help your child to become more familiar with their surroundings and begin adapting to their new school life.
You can also practice with them when it comes to their new routine. This can help to get rid of their new school nerves, and it will show them that you are there to support them.
Prepare them for their new school life
It’s important to help your child get used to their new school life, especially if they will be moving to a new school when entering secondary school. Assess whether your child is ready to face their new environment and if you need to intervene, decide what can be done before they enter their new school.
Secondary schools are more complex than primary schools and the activities can become overwhelming for first-year students. If the school has open days that your children can attend, go with them so that you can both gain a clear idea of what to expect. You can also bring your child on school visits so that they can get a sense of what their new school has to offer. This will also help you determine whether the school is the perfect fit for them. Should you be unable to visit the school in person, you can also have a look through the school’s website together.
As parents, accompanying your children during their transition from primary to secondary school is admittedly stressful given all the changes you both will face. Be aware that panicking about this new situation may be problematic for your child, as they may base their reactions on your own reactions. It’s important to remain calm and show your child that you are confident in their ability to succeed in their new school. Sit down with your child and look through all of the new things they’ll be encountering together, that way you will both be prepared for the next step you are both about to take. You’ll be taking a huge step together and although it will be challenging, if you prepare accordingly and familiarize yourselves with this new environment, everything will go smoothly. Good luck!