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Transitioning to Middle School

The transition to middle school might be a child’s first major transition since starting kindergarten.  A good time to start talking about what they might expect for next year is in spring of their last year of elementary school.   Plan ahead so you can make the transition easier. 

Find out what concerns your student has and think of ways to reduce those concerns.  If they are worried about getting lost, see if you can visit the school ahead of time, even for a spring concert or play.  Look on-line or ask the school for a map your child can review. 

Help your child develop the organizational and problem solving skills they will need in a more independent environment.  Help your student learn how to organize their locker, their backpack, their folders, etc.  Help them practice time management skills they will need for the long term assignments that will be more common in middle school. 

Learn about the social opportunities such as clubs, sports, music, drama, etc. that are available.  Encourage your student to try a new activity or two.  Activities can be a great way to meet and make new friends.   

Before school starts, spend time reviewing information about the new school.  Check the website, review written materials, ask questions of staff, etc.  Participate in any opportunities provided to ease the transition.  Many schools offer tours, days where only the new class is in attendance, upper class mentors, etc.  Find out what is available and how to connect your child to these opportunities.

Encourage your child to get to know his/her counselor and to maintain contact throughout his/her middle school years. 

Be positive.  Many parents worry about the transition to middle school and your fears can be contagious.  Remind your child of the times they have successfully managed train.  Let them know that you expect them to do well in middle school and that you will continue to be there for them, offering support and encouragement, both emotionally and academically.