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Tips to Help Your Child Transition from Elementary to Middle School

junior high hallway with lockersTransitioning from elementary school to a junior high or middle school creates stress on children and parents alike.  Take time this summer to help prepare both you and your child for this milestone.

Tips to Help Your Child Transition Successfully from Elementary to Middle School

  • Explore the school website looking at schedules, announcements, teacher sites and start times.
  • Brainstorm the differences between elementary school and junior high (recesses, lockers, etc.) and ask what your child thinks of these differences.  Be supportive and positive as you listen to your child’s fears and hopes about this school transition.
  • Contact the school and request your child’s class schedule.  The earlier you can receive it, the better.
  • Request a map of the school.  Mark your child’s locker, classes and bathrooms on the map so he/she knows the physical route of his/her school day.
  • Get a copy of the school’s handbook and review school expectations and rules.
  • Agree upon a study zone where your child will do homework.
  • Help your child develop and organizational system that accommodates multiple teachers – multiple classes.
  • Help your child identify and implement time management tools and strategies he/she will employ to successfully adapt to the multi-class school day.
  • Enroll your child in a junior high “readiness” class offered by their new school or another institution.  A good program will give your child an organizational and a time management  plan to use in the coming year.
  • Expect your child to be successful, but inwardly acknowledge transitions take time.  Stay positive and confident about your child and their ability to handle change.

Additional Tips to Transition from Elementary to Junior High School with an IEP or 504 Plan

  • Schedule intentionally, harder subjects during your child’s best time, class locations closer together – think about your child’s needs and ask for them to be reflected in her schedule
  • If your child uses an electronic planner, check with the school it is within their policies and if not, add it as an accommodation to your child’s IEP
  • Have one folder for loose papers your child takes to every class – your child could receive multiple sheets of loose paper every day so help them devise a system to manage paper
  • Ask to keep a text book at home and one at school
  • Practice routines – reading a class schedule, organizing materials, opening a combination lock – use summer to practice whatever routines may challenge or stress your child
  • If you haven’t already, meet your child’s case manager and other key members of his/her IEP team before school starts.  Review your child’s accommodations to evaluate how they fit the middle school learning environment.

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