Preparing for high school
Teachers talk about how to make your child's move into high school less daunting.
At a glance
- In Year 5 start thinking about which high school your child should attend.
- Help them become more responsible by encouraging independence and responsibility.
- Get into a homework and study routine.
- Put their school timetable somewhere obvious – like the fridge door.
- Meet your child's high school Year 7 adviser and tell them if you have any concerns.
- Stay interested and involved in your child's high school life – they still need you.
How do we prepare our kids for high school and make the move less daunting for them – and us?
Parents need to be reassured that high school is a very safe and supportive environment.
There are many people that students can go to if they are encountering any difficulties socially.
I'm a Year 7 adviser and my job is to make sure the kids feel comfortable at school and I stay with them from Year 7 right through to Year 12. So I'm with them for every year that they're here at the school.
They're encouraged to come and talk to me. And I talk to them often, wander into their classrooms just to have a chat and try and get to know them on a personal level so that they like to come and talk to me whenever they need to.
Orientation days are actually held when their child's in Year 5. So when your child's in Year 5 you need to facilitate by sounding out local schools, visiting them and going to their orientation days so that by the end of Year 5 you're solid with where you want to send your child.
Children going from Year 6 to Year 7 can often be apprehensive about going to high school and what things they'll face. The transition program that we have from Year 6 to Year 7 dispels a lot of that because they go and have days where they're actually in the high school. They can sit in science labs, sit in English blocks meeting with the teachers they're going to have as part of their daily timetable.
At primary school everything's sort of done for them and organised for them. At high school, you show up and it's a much bigger school, you go from A to B by yourself, your homework is due each day.
Don't spoon feed kids everything. Let them take responsibility and by the time they get to Year 6 they should be in those routines that you've taught them.
It's important to have your child into a routine for doing homework as it is in primary school, so that when they get into high school and have homework from a number of different teachers they've already adopted a good study program.
Organisation is absolutely critical. You're coming in to a totally different kind of learning environment. Lots of different classes, lots of different classrooms, lots of different subjects, lots of different teachers.
In primary school they have all their equipment in a centralised location, which they can go to and access for each subject. In high school students require more equipment than they did in primary school. And all this they have to have organised and cart around with them, so to be organised is the biggest way of getting around that.
One of the best things a parent can do to help is know the equipment the child needs for school. And in the early days of high school especially, help them pack their bags. Make sure they've got a calculator, make sure they've got the materials, their mathematics workbook, their ruler pens and pencils. Help them do that, because what you're doing, you're putting into practice a regular routine.
For parents to best assist their children it's keeping on top of their organisation, so making sure they have a journal, a diary or a planner. Preferably on the fridge or somewhere really, really obvious that everyone in the family is going to see – parents and child.
Making sure there is homework time set every single day, remembering that in high school homework is very rarely called homework. It's most often called assignments or assessments or completing class work. To establish those routines with their child as they get used to the very, very different and challenging environment of high school.
I have students leave my class every year to go to high school and the first day of the next year they run down and they're excited and happy, so a lot of fears we have are because of the unknown. So it's really important just being positive about the experience of going to high school.
Sometimes parents think that when their child comes to high school they need to take a step back, we say not a step back but a different step. That they're still there supporting their child and our experience would be that those children that do really well in high school, their parents have been there in some way, shape or form, supporting them through their six years at high school.
You'll find more information including a video called, Starting high school at schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au
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