Transition is about change. Mostly we cope with changes in our lives. Some are rewarding and some challenging. Some are unexpected and some anticipated with excitement or anxiety. For children major consistent change occurs when they move from kinder to primary school, from primary to secondary school. Many schools and parents have processes in place to support families in transition with activities, conversations and preparation. There are great resources to support families particularly for children beginning school.
We do have to remember that for some students particularly our anxious students and children on the autism spectrum moving to another class and teacher is a transition that causes them increased anxiety. Preparation for these children and understanding around transitional support is important. The good practice we put in place when starting school should be adopted for children to reduce their anxiety. Talking about their concerns and preparing them for change may help them to feel in control of their emotions around these changes.
ADAPTED FROM KIDSMATTER
Starting school and moving classes or schools is an important time for children and families. Children who make a positive start to the year and the new environment are more likely to:
- feel comfortable, relaxed and valued
- feel excited and motivated to learn
- have good relationships with others
- develop a sense of belonging within the school community.
Starting a new school year is not just about the first day. It’s a process that begins when children and families start to prepare in the year before, and continues as children experience their first days, weeks and months in a new environment. The process involves a number of changes for children and families, and everyone reacts differently.
For some children the change brings excitement about making friends, being with friends and learning new things, while for others the change can leave them feeling nervous and overwhelmed. You may reflect on your own school experiences and be reminded of the mix of emotions you felt when starting school and moving to other classes.
Families play an important role in supporting children to manage the transition to primary school, secondary school and with many changes they experience. Assisting your child to cope with the new challenges by developing their social, emotional and learning skills and supporting your child’s skills in these areas contributes to their mental health and wellbeing.
Children who are mentally healthy are better learners, have stronger relationships and are better able to meet life’s challenges.