Parenting: Transitioning into middle school
April 20, 2012 (WPVI) -- Now that Spring Break is over, it's a very exciting time for my 11-year-old son, Micah. Over the next couple of months, he will wrap up his elementary school years and begin the transition to middle school.
The fifth graders at his elementary school mark this transition in numerous ways. They will go on visits to the middle school, learn about choosing classes, rotating schedules, lockers and the like.
The fifth-graders also put on a big musical. They've already tried out for parts and solos, and have begun before-school rehearsals with the music teacher. As fourth-graders, they performed in the chorus for the fifth-grade show, but this year, they will be the stars. (Micah will be "Farmer Jerry." I'm not entirely sure what that entails, but I've begun a mad hunt for overalls!)
There is also a promotion ceremony, on the last day of school. This, too, will include musical performances and awards for students who've participated in extra-curricular activities, such as choir, band, and student council.
The evening of the promotion ceremony, there's one final celebration, the fifth grade party. For many, this will be their first boy-girl event, with a DJ (though we don't call it a "dance.")
All of these activities are a lot of fun, but they also serve the important purpose of helping the students bond as a group. It will strengthen their relationships with each other, before they find themselves in a much bigger school, with students from two other elementary schools, and all those scary older kids in the 7th and 8th grades.
I know that my two older sons remained very close to their elementary school friends as they started middle school and that greatly eased their transitions.
Parents can also help with the middle school transition. Students are likely to be nervous. If they have older siblings, they may have had ideas planted in their heads about how young middle-school students are taunted by older ones.
It's important to make sure your future middle-schooler feels comfortable sharing any fears with you, and that you keep reminding them that their friends from elementary school will all be taking this big step with them. They're not alone.
Put a positive spin on all the new kids they'll meet. It's especially helpful if you child already knows some of the children from other elementary schools. Thankfully, Micah has friends from Hebrew School, flag football, basketball and Little League who will become classmates next year.
It's also a good idea to visit the middle school a few times with your child, so they can begin to learn their way around. Maybe even get them a combination lock to practice opening, so that locker concept becomes less frightening.
The transition to middle school is exciting, and can be nerve-wracking. So, it's worthwhile to begin thinking about and preparing for it now. Definitely, enjoy these last few months in elementary school. I know we will!
For more advice on the transition to middle school visit:
-The National Education Association
-The Association for Middle Level Education
-KidSource Read more Parenting Perspective blogs by visiting the Parenting Channel on 6abc.com.
amy buckman parenting reports, parenting, amy buckman
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