The Elementary to Middle School Transition: Five Helpful Hints for Parents
For many young adolescents the transition from elementary to middle school can be a time of mixed emotions. It can also be an opportunity for new beginnings. New friends, new teachers, and new a school environment can bring out excitement and, at times, a little nervous energy for middle school students.
There is also a transition that occurs for parents during this time. Great middle schools make sure parents feel welcome and they provide information that will help with the transition.
Listed below are tips that can be shared with parents on how to make the transition go smoothly for everyone involved.
- Encourage parents to buy a combination lock before school and have their child spend time trying to open the lock. Call the school to see if they will allow him or her to practice. If you don't have the combination, make one up.
- Go to the school two or three days before school starts and get a copy of your child’s schedule. Then take a few minutes to walk from room to room with your child. Look for direct routes to classrooms, stop by the gym, check out the locker rooms, and spend a few minutes in the lunchroom. This will help alleviate apprehensions your child and you might have about going to the middle school.
- Don’t buy backpacks that can store 50 pounds of materials. Remember, the students are not going to hike a mountain or spend two weeks in the wilderness. Keep backpacks simple. They should be able to hold a few items. The more the backpack can hold, the more a middle school student will place in it. Smaller backpacks allow for better organization.
- Increase your knowledge of adolescent development. Take time to review information and materials that relate to middle level issues. Free tip sheet for parents.
- If you have raised adolescents, be willing to share advice and information with other parents. Form an information group or support group for parents of new middle school students. Also, ask the principal if they would like some volunteers for the first few days to help students with their schedules and lockers.