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Moving from Elementary to Middle School

Elementary school is generally six years of attending one class, with one main teacher, meeting the same friends every day. While once a week, students may attend PE, music, and art class, they tend to do so with the same classroom friends throughout the year.

Then comes middle school to change all that! Suddenly your child is thrown into having multiple classes a day, mixing with a different set of classmates for each one. There are more subjects to learn and additional work to go with it. No doubt, the transition from elementary school to middle school can be a daunting one.

It doesn’t need to be a scary time though! With some preparation for you and your child, this can be an exciting and fun step into a new chapter, one that offers chances to make new friends, learn new things of interest, and get involved in extracurricular activities. If your child is taking that big leap into middle school from elementary school soon, then take a look at our hints and tips on how to make things easier for everyone.

Do Some Exploring Together

Your child may not have a clue about what to expect in middle school, other than being given a short talk before picking classes, if even that, or from what they see on pre-teen shows on TV.

Bring up the new school’s website and read through the news on the page. Maybe they have announcements about specific classes or extracurricular activities that may get your child excited to get involved with. The website may even have a section about the classes, especially the extras like art or drama. There may also be announcements about upcoming events in the school year – handy to know to get your child prepared for them ahead of time.

Does the school have a handbook you can look at? If you can’t get a physical copy, there may be one available online. It is a good idea to go through this with your child, so they have a good idea of the rules and policies in place.

Then talk about all the changes that take place in middle school, like lockers for example. Kids are used to having their own desk to keep their belongings in, but now they will be switching to a new desk every period and may only be allowed to keep things in a locker. Do they know how to use a lock? Get one and get practicing! Also explain the lack of recess and playgrounds, as they just seem to disappear when you go into middle school.

Getting Around

Instead of one classroom for the whole day, your child may end up in as many as six or seven! The time in-between classes may seem so short, racing from one room to the next, but really, they can go casually (as long as they use their time wisely and don’t get caught up talking!) and get to the next lass with no problems. Instead of fretting about the time between classes, take a walk outside for a few minutes. You will notice how far you get in that time!

On the school’s open day, be sure to attend and get a map, and walk with your child to every single class in order so they get familiar with the time it takes to get to each. No running or stressing about being late now!

If you cannot attend an open day, or for whatever reason, there is none (although there should be!) then ask administration if there is a good time to get a tour of the school. If it isn’t busy, the staff there might be accommodating.

The school may also host summer activities, and if that’s the case, then get your child involved. They will get familiar with the school and staff and may even make new friends before the new school year even starts!

Making Friends

If you haven’t moved over the summer, there is a good chance your child will be attending middle school with a lot of the same kids they were within the elementary school. However, there will still be a lot of new faces there too, and it is important to encourage your child to become acquainted with everyone. Work on basic social skills – teach them how to start a conversation and to say hello to everyone. Sometimes it only takes a “hello” and a smile to start a friendship!

Another good way of making new friends is by joining after-school clubs. They can join something they already have an interest in or something they have always wanted to try, including sports. They will be mixing in with other kids who share a common interest. It’s a great way to make friends.

Handling Homework

Your child will be accustomed to homework but not at the level you get in middle school. Decide on a schedule after school to tackle homework, giving them a dedicated, quiet space to work in, and working at intervals so they aren’t overwhelmed by it all, like 20 minutes on math, 20 minutes science, etc.

Children are pretty adaptable, but that doesn’t mean middle school won’t be scary. These tips will help prepare them for a successful time at their new school, hopefully making new friends and trying new activities!

What tips do you have for kids entering middle school? Will your child be moving onto another school this year? Talk to us over on our social media pages!

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