It is coming to that time of year, when some parents will be preparing for their children to make the leap from Primary to Secondary School transition. As your son or daughter moves closer to graduation from primary school, there is considerable excitement and anticipation in the air.
There is also, understandably, some anxiety and nervousness about the impending transition from the caring, personalised primary system to the more impersonal, secondary environment.
How will your child cope in this new phase of development? What additional guidance and training will be needed to facilitate and sustain this transition?
Going to Secondary school can be exciting but sometimes also a bit of a scary thought for some kids, particularly if you have spent all your school life in the one school.
For most children the move from primary to secondary school is characterised by a potent mix of excitement and anxiety. Alongside the anticipation of making new friends, being treated in a more adult way and learning new things, comes uncertainty about exactly what the new school will be like and worries about stricter teachers, more homework, not being able to make friends and being around older pupils.
All of this is perfectly normal. Most children will find ways to adapt, but a sizeable minority will find change much harder to cope with and will struggle to benefit from the opportunities offered by secondary school. For some children, who lack the strategies and support they need to cope, the transition may see the emergence of underlying mental,emotional and academic problems and a need for additional understanding and support.
My move to Secondary School
I remember being the youngest in my class(JSS 1) when i entered secondary school at the age of 8.I was constantly being teased and called ” the smallest girl in JSS 1B”. That became my nickname.
I was lost,confused and often times depresses.Being an intelligent girl from Elementary school enabled me sit for the exams and eventually passed much to the excitement of my parents who were proud to have another child in Secondary school.But me, i became withdrawn,distant and often apprehensive. It was an experience i wasn’t prepared for.
The transition from primary to secondary school is a major change in any child’s life.This period often come with:
- travelling to a new area to go to secondary school, possibly using public transport for the first time
- new subjects with broader curriculum
- a new school building
- new timetables
- new teachers and classmates
- more teachers for different subjects
- a much larger number of pupils
- new and different routines etc
We asked some primary school students what they thought about going to high school next year and here are some of the things they said:
- I am nervous, scared and worried because it will be a completely different school and I’ll be in the smallest year .
- I’m worried in case I won’t fit in or make new friends because I’m leaving my friends behind.
- I’m nervous because i have to go to a boarding school and won’t be able to watch TV all the time.
- I have heard stories of mean girls and cliques in secondary school and am just worried about them
- I,m scared of being bullied by my seniors and mates.
What are you looking forward to?
“Using the equipment eg. computers, science labs, kitchens.
All the different teachers I’ll have for different subjects.”
“Being in a new area and making new friends.’
“Doing lots of sport.”
“Learning new things.”
“Growing up and turning into a young adult.”
What are your concerns or fears?
I might be in a class with none of my friends.”
Harassment by other kids.”
“I think that people will tease me because I’m smaller than anyone else.”
“Being offered drugs, alcohol and sex”
“That the work will be too hard.”
“Getting lost and going into the wrong room.”
“Getting beaten up.”
“Being late for classes”
“Dealing with lost item”
“Dealing with mean friends”
“Being called names”
“Failing in academics.”
For children who have moved from their from their first year in secondary school, many shared their experiences:
- I was really excited about going up because I knew I would be more independent but I was also scared about the amount of homework, harder work and that I would loose all of my friends
- On my first day at Secondary school, i started writing with pencil when my teacher came over and asked me: “what are you doing”? staring at my pencil.I was surprised to see others looking at me and laughing because i was still writing with a pencil instead of a pen!
- “I was really excited about growing up because I knew I would be more independent but I was also scared about the amount of homework, harder work and that I would loose all of my friends”.
- “There are people who will really make you angry and disrespect you, you have to learn to avoid them”.
Some children may become ‘stuck’ on the transition pathway and need help to move on to the next stage. Some children will have more of the skills needed to cope with change and some, crucially, will be at increased risk and lack the capacity to adapt. Children who have a good sense of belonging, identity, self esteem and self-efficacy and who have a wide network of supportive relationships are more likely to cope well. Those who experience social exclusion, deprivation, disadvantage or a lack of support and those who have had difficult experiences in their early years are more likely to struggle.
Both boys and girls deal with the transition phase differently but both gender may suffer loss or damaged positive self image at this period.
For girls, the pressure to fit in, to develop her own self-identity and self-worth becomes a daily struggle especially during puberty. She often compares herself to her other classmates whom she may termed more beautiful,smart, physically developed and getting attention from boys. While some girls struggle with late puberty,others can’t come to terms with the sudden blossoming season their body just got into. Dealing with physical transformation(breasts,hips,buttocks developing) is too much for some girls and the “Almighty monthly flow” (menstrual cycle-cramps,pms, keeping the cycle chart,tampons/sanitary pads) might just be too much to handle.
For boys, the attainment of puberty is often welcome with excitement.Being finally called”a man” feeds the ego.A boy may struggle with alcohol,drug use, being called a weakling or a mommy’s boy,bullying and dealing with other boys who are more physically fit and being eyed by girls.
Good preparation can help alleviate some of the difficulties or anxiety that pupils experience at transition:
How to help
Moving from the top class of primary school, Year 6, to the bottom class of secondary, is probably the biggest change your child will have ever known. Don’t underestimate the importance of this moment in your child’s life, even if most of their friends are going to the same school, and you have older children.
Because moving schools is such a change in their lives, your child will almost certainly be nervous. Take time to talk things through – or at least, let your child know that you realise they might be anxious and you’re willing to listen. Children often feel better about worries when they share them.
In preparing your child for secondary school it helps to step back in time and remember all those emotions you felt as you stood in your new school uniform and prepared to make the leap into the great unknown.
Whatever you do, don’t shrug off any apprehension your child says they’re feeling about starting secondary school. It’s important that you listen to their worries and have a think about what you can do to help.
5 Tips to help:
1. Be Prepared
2. Get ready to negotiate
3.Pick your fights carefully
4.Loosen the Apron strings
How we can help
A good transition is crucial to academic achievement and socio-emotional stability. If you’re not sure how to help your child, sign up for our Two-day “Moving On” Transition workshop.
Your child will be able to:
- Move forward to embrace the transition phase and its changes instead of rejecting and running from it.
- Build resilience, handle conflict and understand how to manage emotions positively
- Develop organization skills, time management and increase sense of self -worth.
- Learn how to use their inner power to make healthy choices and respond to situations.
- Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
- Learn how to deal with cliques, bullies and not being a victim.
To your Success!
Love & Brilliance.
Contact us on:08098011526, 08068880123