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Help them take the jump! Supporting Transition to Secondary School.

It might seem like it was only yesterday that you were helping them get dressed into their first uniform, holding their little hand tightly and sending them off for their first ever day of school. Now you're buying a much bigger uniform (possibly more expensive, especially that blazer!) and maybe not so much hand holding, the daunting transition to secondary school is just around the corner.

Transitions take place throughout our lives, involving moving from one stage to another and the changes, emotions and outcomes that come with these moments. Starting school, a new job, university or moving are all part of life's transitions. A key transition milestone is moving from the familiar primary school environment to the world of highschool, which can present its challenges for young people. The added layer of our Covid-19 experiences of the past few years have also added to this challenge.

Transitioning your child from primary school to secondary school can be a stressful and challenging time for both them and you, but it can also be an opportunity for excitement, open mindedness and curiosity. It is important to create a space where your child feels supported and can openly communicate with you about their experiences during this time. At the same time it is important to not let your concerns, past experiences, fears or anxieties impact on their thinking in taking the next step in their education.

As a parent, you have the best intentions for your child. You want them to be happy and successful in life, remembering that they are still kids who need guidance and someone to just hear them out, more than anything else. Your child may be experiencing a lot of mixed emotions, so it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and consider what might be on their mind.

Things that could be on their mind…

  • Will I make friends?

  • How do I make new friends?

  • What if I get bullied?

  • How will my primary school friends feel if I make new friends?

  • What if I get lost?

  • What will my teachers be like?

  • Do I get to use a bunsen burner?

  • Who will I talk to if I need help?

  • What will I do at break times?

  • Will I have lots of homework?

  • When should I start to study?

The list can go on!

Being a listening ear during this time is really important. ReachOut is an organisation that offers a wide range of support for young people and their families and suggests being open to discuss their concerns and worries in a mindful and non-judgemental way. This is an important milestone in their life, they may also be experiencing puberty changes, which could also be impacting on their emotions.

In their article Transition to High School for Teenagers ReachOut suggests you can help your young person by:

  • Communicating with your teen about what to expect as they start high school. Encourage them to ask questions, and if you don’t know the answers, find them together.

  • Helping your teen prepare for high school. Talk to them about what they need and organise those things together.

  • Talking to your teen about how to use social media and technology safely and ask them to show you their favourite apps, games and websites. Lead by example, set realistic boundaries for internet use and show them how to use it in a positive way.

  • Encouraging your teen to make new friends and to participate in social activities.

  • Being present and supportive during your teen’s transition to high school.

The transition from primary school to high school can be an exciting time for your child. They are going through a lot of changes and learning new things daily, so it is important to make sure they feel supported and confident during this time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. The best way to do this is by creating a positive support environment where they can ask questions and share their emotions.

Each year MKM offers the Super 7s program which supports the transition to secondary school with confidence. This eight week course provides the support Grade 6 children need to feel ready to take the next step in their education. This course will focusing on developing strategies to support students wellbeing through:

- Mindfulness practises

- Developing Growth Mindset attitude

- Organisational skills

- Resilience and problem solving skills

The program content supports students to feel confident to begin high school.

2022 Session

Session 1- Introduction to mindfulness and how it supports our wellbeing. Discussing fears and worries around high school.

Session 2- Deeper dive into mindfulness and supporting wellbeing

Session 3- Mindful Thinking and the Flight, Fight, Freeze, Fawn responses

Session 4- Gratitude for our primary years, strengths and challenges, who is your team to support you.

2023 Sessions

Session 5- (Holiday Session prior to highschool) Self Care, Growth Mindset and Change, timetabling and organisation

Session 6- Challenges of first week, goal setting, resilience building

Session 7- Friendships and stepping out of your comfort zone

Session 8- (Final Session) Self Talk, mental health goals.

2021 was the first year the program was held with fantastic feedback from parents and participants.

Super 7’s is a fantastic program that greatly assisted my daughter’s transition from Grade 6 to Secondary School. It gave her the tools to prepare for and deal with situations that caused her to be anxious. Forever grateful to Sarah for running this wonderful program! Super 7 Parent

Starting high school is a huge change for most kids, especially those that find change challenging or anxiety inducing. The Super 7’s program not only prepared my daughter for what was to come but had her looking forward to it, being less nervous of the unknown and resulting in a smooth transition. The program put in place strategies for her to use independently when any wobbles came and continuing into the start of year 7 meant a reminder of those techniques and extra support when it was most needed. The results are evident in the way my daughter has begun high school with confidence and happiness. Highly recommend this program! Super 7 Parent

If you have a child that is about to begin their journey to highschool, then Super 7s is just right for them. With online and onsite options this course is very accessible and the program last year demonstrated great results for the attendees. Head to the website for further details and booking information.

Successful transitions are important to help your child feel confident in their ability to step into a new and often unfamiliar situation. Supporting your child to develop these skills helps to build independence, self-efficacy and their sense of competence, which further supports their mental health and wellbeing.

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