Welcome to Middle School at Arkansas Christian Academy! The move from Elementary School to Middle School is a big transition. In fact, it may be the biggest transition your child will make since they began Kindergarten. This type of milestone transition can be hard on your child at times. Your child now moves between classes, has a locker, and has a different teacher for each subject. Students in Middle School can also face more social pressures, all the while the academics are becoming more rigorous. Be encouraging and supportive of your child, including both social and academic concerns. Together, you can help your child adjust to the learning challenges of this important step in his/her education. Below you will find a few tips to ease the transition for your child.
Different Classrooms and Use of Lockers
In middle school your child will be expected to move from class to class on their own. They will also need to get materials from their locker and still be on time for each class. For any child, especially one that has issues with organization, these basic logistics can become overwhelming. And that’s before they even face the academic challenges that await them in the classroom.
With some advance practice and preparation, you can do a lot to help make the transition easier for your student. Make sure your child knows their schedule. They will have an opportunity to do a “run-through” at Open House before classes start. This will allow them to see how far apart the rooms are and how quickly they will need to move if they need to go to their locker between classes.
Buy their combination lock and bring it with you so they can practice opening and closing it. Have them continue practicing with this lock at home. Discuss with your child what to do if they forget the combination—or where their locker is located.
In middle school, your child will have different teachers for each subject. Many children worry that they won’t be able to keep up with the workload or that their teacher will be “tough” or “mean.” Be sure and attend our open house, so that both you and your student can meet the teachers before the first day of school.
It is VERY important that you and/or your child communicate what their learning needs are. It’s important to try to anticipate problems and address them quickly before your child falls too far behind or begins feeling discouraged.
Social life is notoriously challenging in middle school. Students go from being the oldest kids in grade school to being the youngest kids in a bustling new building. Kids may worry that it’ll be hard to make friends. The change is difficult.
Not all change is bad, however. Being in a different school building with new faces may give your child an opportunity to make new friends.
Encourage your child to join clubs and extracurricular activities. These often provide a ready-made peer group. Finding one or two friends they can eat lunch with can make the transition easier.
Over the summer, practice role-playing skills such as how to join a conversation or introduce themselves to new people.
Getting Used to Middle School
It can take some time for kids to get used to middle school. Tell your child it’s normal to feel nervous when they start school. If your child is still struggling to adjust after the first two to three months, you may want to schedule a meeting with the school counselor.