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How to Help Your Child Transition to a New School [click for full article]
For children who are not thriving in their current educational environment, transitioning to a new school is an opportunity to start anew. The right school can help your child blossom, enabling them to make meaningful connections, create lasting friendships, harness their creativity, and build a solid academic foundation that will help them succeed throughout life.
Transitioning to a new school can be an exciting time. Forging new relationships with teachers, meeting new classmates and making new friends are all chances for your child to develop socially and as well as academically in a new, welcoming learning environment. And while your child may be a little nervous at the prospect of change, the good news is that with a little bit of preparation and a positive mindset, you can help your child make the move smoothly and positively.
It’s quite common for students to change schools during the academic year. Research suggests as many as one in four students in K-12 will transfer to a new school from one year to the next. As a parent, you want the transition to be seamless, so your child starts out on the right foot from the beginning.
And remember, how you view the move likely will impact how your child feels about it. So, if you’re uneasy and nervous, they will pick up on this and behave the same way, but if you’re excited and curious about the new school, new opportunities and you treat the transfer like a new adventure, your child is likely to follow your lead.
You can do several things to help prepare your child to transfer schools comfortably and confidently.
1. Do a ‘First Day’ Test Run
Before their official first day at the new school, arrange to tour the school and to meet with your child’s new teachers. Talk ahead of time with your child’s teachers and school administrators about any concerns you or your child may have about transferring into the new school. They will have suggestions for how to make the transition go smoothly.
Scope out the cubby or locker for their things, locate the restrooms, find the art room or auditorium and check out the cafeteria to get a feel for where everything is. It can benefit both you and your student to get familiar with the school, their schedule, and staff before the change.
Then, you can help prepare your child for the first day at a new school by doing a “dry run” of what their day will look like. Plan a day to wake up at the time they would be getting up for school and go to the bus stop together or jump in the car if you’re planning to drive to/from the campus.
By doing a practice first day test run with your student, you can help familiarize them with the school building itself and with their new teachers. Being able to see the layout of the school before their first day will increase their confidence and equip them to sail through their first day smoothly and successfully!
2. Establish a Routine
Adults and children alike often feel more confident and secure when they know what to expect. Establishing and sticking to a time for your family’s daily tasks such as meals, bathing, and bedtime helps children take the guesswork of their day.
A consistent routine, healthy meals and regular sleep gives a child a well-rested body and brain that is ready to learn. Routines allow children to know what to expect, empowering them to feel in control of their environment and helping set expectations about what is happening now, what is coming next, and what they are expected to do.
All of these things will have a positive impact on your child’s academic achievements, social development and mindset and will make events like a school transition more comfortable.
3. Encourage Positive Thinking
Talk with your child about what to expect when they start a new school. Ask questions like What are you most excited about at your new school? What does the best school day look like to you? Does anything worry you? If so, what can we do about it?
Once they are enrolled and attending their new school, continue to encourage positive thinking and lead by example. Engage in conversations with your child about their new school and be enthusiastic toward their daily experiences. Ask questions and show that you are interested in what they say and do.
These positive check-ins will help build a strong foundation for your child’s mood, attitude, and mental health. Remember, the way you talk about school will influence how your child thinks about it.
4. Take an Active Role in the School Community
Whether you serve weekly as a classroom volunteer or as a one-time chaperone for a class field trip, getting involved in the school community provides you the opportunity to meet your child’s classmates and their parents as well.
Ask your child’s teacher or administrators where you can contribute time and hands-on help. Though most schools usually welcome the extra help, changes during and after the pandemic may have altered on-campus opportunities, but there are usually other chances to help.
Encourage your student to join a sports team or club or participate in extracurricular activities that match their interests. This will help them meet people, build relationships, and find a sense of community at their new school.
Regardless of your time availability, energy level and work and family commitments, you can engage with your child’s new school by doing something as simple as offering to send in snacks, coordinate class parties or join the PTA. In addition to giving back to the school community and meeting new friends, your actions will inspire your child to follow your example and get involved.
Every Child Deserves to Be Challenged to Reach Their Full Potential
Every child deserves an educational environment where they can learn, thrive and grow academically, artistically, socially and emotionally.
That is our mission at Easton Arts Academy: to prepare students to become engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders by providing each child with a rigorous academic experience enriched by continuous, ongoing experiences in the arts. From visual art and music to dance and theater, our arts-focused curriculum gives every student the chance to shine while challenging them to reach their full potential.
If your child would thrive in our arts-enriched, tuition-free K-5 charter school, we would love to hear from you. Call us at any time at 484.546.4230.