Back to School Series: Making the transition from elementary to middle school!

Is there a big difference between elementary school and middle school?  In fact, many moms will tell you that middle school was harder than high school. So what should parents know to be better prepared?

Being a former middle school teacher, the big key in middle school is organization, time management, and team work. This is how most middle schools are set up. They have teams of teachers who are responsible for teaching all the core subjects to a group of students.  Each team has a team leader and together these teachers provide the instruction, guidance, and support to their group of children.

Most children make the transition easily, but many children have a difficult time staying organized with the demands and expectations from a variety of teachers.  Add to this mix new friendships and outside activities, and any child can easily become disorganized and totally distracted.  You can be assured that the patterns and habits established in middle school will follow the child through his high school years.

Research indicates that the most consistent predictors of a child’s academic achievement and social adjustment are parent expectations of the child’s academic attainment, and satisfaction with their child’s education at school. (Taken from, Champion Parenting: Giving Your Child a Competitive Edge) Parents of high-achieving students set higher standards for their children’s educational activities as well as their social life.  Regardless, all parents need to support and encourage their child by continuing to communicate with them.

Many times parents automatically relinquish their authority to the child once he arrives in middle school. It is highly suggested however, that parents continue to monitor the child’s daily lessons/activities and assist him when necessary in keeping an organized routine.  This will allow the child to gain more confidence with his new environment and with the additional responsibilities he now has.  Often times, parents will need to work together with the child until he has shown he is capable of handling these responsibilities independently. When this happens, parents will witness the child’s confidence and independence soar.

A sudden change in sleeping and or eating patterns, dress, attitude towards school, or lack of socializing and wanting to be alone can be red flags. It is important that parents continue to monitor and observe the child’s behavior for body language does not lie. All children need to be frequently reminded that they are loved, valued, and most of all respected.

Parental involvement is critical if children are to complete their high school education successfully. It is equally important that parents continue to be involved in middle and high school just as they have done in the elementary grades.  This includes:
*Setting individual goals and working together                                                             *Attending school meetings, meet and greats, events, and conferences                       *Meeting all school personnel, including counselors, principals, coaches, etc. *Volunteering whenever possible
*Staying informed about school programs, course curriculum, teacher expectations, students’ progress on a regular basis
*Monitoring all friendships, newly formed or existing
*Networking with other parents
*Supervising the child’s educational and outside activities while maintaining high expectations

By participating fully in the child’s educational experience, your child will be prepared and equipped to meet any or all of his challenges. Need additional help? Don’t hesitate to contact me at: ali@championparenting.com

 

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About authoraliceiorio

A nationally known educator, with over 20 years of teaching experience (preschool- college) is President and founder of Champion Parenting, Inc., a nonprofit.
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