Many students can agree that the transition from elementary school to high school is very exciting, as new challenges and opportunities await! The move into high school impacts all students, as they enter a new learning environment surrounded by new teachers and classmates. There are many things you can do to help your child transition to secondary school smoothly. Check out our tips below!
Visit the high school.
During the spring or summer months before your child begins high school, reach out to the school staff members to discuss visiting the school and getting to know your child’s future teachers. Many high schools also have open-nights available for new students, where students and parents are encouraged to visit the high school and meet the teachers. Encourage your child to join you in visiting his or her new school!
Spend the summer before school starts developing a schedule and responsibilities to help your child develop good working habits. This could involve participating in a summer camp, doing volunteer work, or playing on a sports team. Having structure during the summer will make the transition back to school in the fall much smoother. It’s also a great idea to help your child develop good planning and organization skills during the summer. Talk to your child about ways they can organize their materials and methods they can use to ensure they are always on top of their homework. Many schools offer a personal planner or agenda at the beginning of the year. Show your child all the benefits of using a planner and assist them with using one effectively.
Promote independent learning/working
Encourage your child to read over the summer. Let them choose what they want to read. The purpose is to keep building his or her reading skills before the school year begins. Another great way to keep your child learning is by enrolling in a summer tutoring program. There are many programs available to help students prepare for high school courses over the summer. It’s an awesome way to make sure your child gets a head start!
Encourage working with peers or tutoring groups
Making sure your child develops self-advocacy is a very important part of being a high school students. Encourage your child to ask for help on their own. This includes asking teachers for help whenever they are unsure about a concept, or simply working with peers. If your child is struggling with a concept, there is likely a few other students who are also having challenges. By working together, students can regularly help each other with homework and assignments, and improve their understanding of the course content.
Many high schools offer an orientation day for the incoming grade 9 students. On grade 9 day, only the grade 9 students arrive at school on the first day of school. This is to help the students get to know the school building and find their classes. Some schools may even offer a map to help the students find their classes with ease. Orientation day is a great chance for your child to meet his or her classmates and make new friends. Make sure your child has plenty of time to get ready for the first day of school and makes it to school on time!
Encourage your child to participate in after school clubs, events, and activities.
Talk to your child about which school clubs, events and/or activities they would like to join. Being part of a school club is an awesome way for your child to meet new people who share their interests. Students always appreciate feeling like active members of their school community. Universities and colleges also love to see that your child has been a part of a school team during their time in high school.
Discuss course selections.
Meet with the guidance department at your child’s current school, as well as the guidance department at the high school. The staff will provide guidance on selecting courses that are most suitable for your child’s interests and learning needs. The high school guidance will also be able to make suggestions based on your child’s learning and thinking needs. Ask the guidance department about academic and applied course streams and get to know what stream is best for your child. Make sure to discuss university and college options with the guidance team and your child.
Get to know your child’s teachers.
Meeting with teachers regularly is very important for your child’s success. A few weeks after school starts, ask to meet with your child’s teachers. Discuss his strengths and areas where he or she might have difficulties. Find strategies that work for you and the teacher to help support your child throughout the school year. Avoid waiting until after the first report card or test result.