Transferring a child to another school is difficult. For students, the transition from one school to another can be especially difficult. The idea of meeting new teachers, parting with friends seems daunting even for the most sociable children, so it will take purposeful planning from parents, the ability to explain to children that it is normal to be nervous about moving to a new learning environment.
The first few months of studying in a new place, students feel uncomfortable, especially if the home environment changes. Students experiencing stress from the transition to a new school feel discomfort, refusing to play and social activities, changing their diet, sleep. Changing schools in high school is not easy. Students face a wide range of problems, overcome academic, social, family pressures, and adapt to changes. But parents and teachers can help the child get used to the changing environment.
Let SMAPSE experts consider the main difficulties that students face when transferring from one school to another in primary, middle school, in the middle of the school year, from a public educational institution to a private one. SMAPSE experts have collected tips from experienced psychologists to help you prepare your children and yourself for possible difficulties.
How students adjust to a new school at different ages
Primary school students experience transition to a new learning environment differently than an older child. For example, a toddler might throw a tantrum to relieve stress, while a student is more understanding by experiencing the stress within. Students find it difficult to make significant changes and need support regardless of age.
Changing school in primary grades: difficulties and pros
Younger learners appear to be poor at coping with change, especially if the student is facing a move at the same time. On the other hand, young students have more flexible thinking, they learn languages more easily, but they also need time to feel comfortable among strangers in a foreign place, they need structure and predictability.
Helping your child adjust is easy if they have had a positive school experience. If the student says he is afraid, try to cheer him up:
- Create a book of pictures to illustrate the hopes and fears of school, and act out the first appearance in class using stuffed animals or dolls to show your child how it will happen.
- Talk to the student about the transition positively, try not to show your anxiety.
- Visit the school together before the official first day: meet the teacher, view the classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym, check the timetable.
- The transfer will be less stressful if the student has a friend from the class. Find out if the school is running events or summer camps for kids to meet future classmates.
- Accept your child's fears: they need to know it's okay to be afraid. Share a story about how you yourself were afraid and then stopped.
Transition from Primary to Secondary: Fear of Large Space
The transition from primary to secondary school is an important milestone in a child's life. He may be afraid that he will get lost among adult students, especially if he finds himself in a new school. Here are some tips to help you make the transition from elementary school to high / middle school easier:
- Visit the new school, find out where the classrooms, administrative offices, gymnasium, cafeteria are located, and practice opening a locker together.
- Choose clothes: High school students place more emphasis on appearance than younger students. Buy, measure, and prepare clothes that will make you feel comfortable on your first day of school.
- Get ready for morning education: help your son / daughter adjust to the new routine, start getting up early a week before class - this will help avoid sleep deprivation.
School change in middle grades: how to help a student
Helping a teenager adjust to a new school will be more difficult: elder students are much more independent than younger students, they want to control their lives. But "grown-up" children also need support and guidance when faced with challenges. In middle school, kids think about college, the future, relationships, work.
Tips for a Successful High School Change
- Help your child formulate goals, ask about plans, listen, show support, see high school as an opportunity to grow and achieve goals.
- Discuss extracurricular activities, talk about school communities, sports, activities your child can enroll in. Extracurricular activities help you find friends with similar interests.
- Be positive: if your child knows you believe in him, he is ready to succeed. Try not to warn you about how tough high school can be, as this increases stress.
- Listen: Let your son / daughter know that you support him if he is feeling depressed or afraid. It will be easier for your child if he knows that you are there when the day is bad.
Moving to a new school in the middle of the school year
Transferring to a new school after the summer break is stressful, but changing schools in the middle of the year is even more difficult. Other studenst have already adjusted to the routine, and the beginner starts from scratch. Here are some tips to help you adjust to your new school at any time of the year:
- Talk to the teachers in advance, inform about the needs of the student, about how he feels about the move. Teachers are always ready to help, and the more information you give them, the easier it will be to adapt.
- Get involved in the organization of the educational process: ask teachers, counselors or trainers in which groups or classes a student can enroll, if there is a support system for new students.
- Continue to delve into school matters after the move: talk to the teachers, check and make sure that the student has adjusted well (but no pressure!). The teacher will notice the behaviors that the student exhibits in class and can alert you if a problem arises.
The transition from public to private school
Moving from a public school to a private school can be as difficult as moving to a new city. Tips to help your child adjust to the new educational environment:
- Transfer the student during the holidays so that they can start learning at the same time as his classmates.
- Tell the teacher that the student is transferring from a different type of school and will need help with the transfer.
- Explain to your son / daughter the reason for the transition, focus on the positive qualities and opportunities of the new place of study.
- Help the kids stay connected: make an appointment with friends from the child's former class, give time to find friends in a new place.
How to avoid difficulties when changing schools
Changing schools is difficult: it destroys ties between students, worries introverted people. To make the transition as easy as possible and provide support on time, consider the following aspects of changing schools.
How long does it take to adapt?
The time it takes to adapt depends on the child and the level of support. Some students feel comfortable in a new school after a few weeks, while others may take much longer to adjust. If the transition to a new school has been particularly difficult for your child, a counselor or therapist can help them deal with stress.
Observe the child
If your child is experiencing severe stress from the move, look for the following signs:
- The student often refuses to go to lessons, falls into hysterics when class time comes or comes a conversation about studying.
- Students experience separation anxiety more than before.
- Sleep and eating disorders are observed.
Play with your child
One of the best ways to relieve your child of stress, make new friends, and cope with change is through play. Free, unstructured play helps students release energy, forget about problems, helps them develop emotionally, teaches them to cope with life's problems. When students play outside, let them run to relax and relieve stress before bed.
Let your child experience stress - Recognizing the stress both you and your children are experiencing makes it much easier to overcome it. This is a great opportunity to sit and talk with your child about their concerns, what their fears are, and what you can do to help them feel better in their new environment and circumstances.
Don't push your child
In the new educational environment, students are already overwhelmed by new schedules and demands, so reduce the pressure at home during the first few weeks of their new life. Gradually introduce students to the routine, adjusting them to their normal level of activity.
Find like-minded people
Maintain feedback from the teacher, communicate with parents who are in the same boat as you. People who understand exactly what you are going through will support you and help you find other new children.
Spend time together
Go to the playground, museum or stay at home, play in the backyard - whichever you choose, your child will appreciate the fact that you want to spend time with them, relieve stress.
Observe the rituals
Were morning / evening rituals part of your daily routine? If so, try keeping a routine at your new school. Order and familiarity reassure students and help them adjust to change.
Prepare a theoretical basis
Read books about moving to a new school with your child: discuss good advice, ask questions, talk about your feelings. For example, Eileen Kennedy-Moore's Growing Friendships: A Children's Guide to Making and Keeping Friends is easy to understand and was specially written to help students between the ages of 6 and 12 transition into a new primary school.
Get to know the new school in advance
A tour of the school is needed - all students are afraid of getting lost. To make them feel more confident on the first day, see if you can arrange a tour before school starts. Also, make sure your child knows where they will be picked up every day to calm their nerves.