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The transition to high school can be a daunting time for many 11 and 12 year olds – so how do we help them best prepare for it?

For many tweens, the leap from the comfort of the primary school classroom into high school can be quite frightening. What’s not to be scared of? It’s usually a physically bigger school campus, with physically bigger people and a bigger list of things to remember.

During this time it is essential for parents to be supportive of their kids and let them know that the transition is going to be all right. After all, they will generally get used to their new surroundings quickly.

Windaroo Valley State High School film and television teacher Leisa Krist says with the introduction of Year 7 to high school, she has noticed the younger students’ higher levels of emotional reliance on others.

I feel that some of the younger students are not quite sure how to have their emotional needs met and which teacher to go to in each situation,” Leisa says.

According to Leisa, one of the biggest changes for those entering high school is that students become responsible for their own learning, behaviours and time management.

“The younger students seem to have trouble remembering to bring materials and definitely have trouble meeting deadlines. Parents need to reinforce that the child is responsible for their own learning,” she says. “Having a student develop their independence and take responsibility for their learning and overall behaviour is essential.”

But it isn’t just teachers who must help students make the transition as smooth as possible. Parents play a major role in welcoming young students into their new learning environment.

Parkinson mum-of-two Helen has helped both her boys transition into high school recently. She believes that although Year 7 students may not be quite emotionally ready for high school, parents can make a big difference in their transition.

“I feel the big challenge for them was having to move between classes and making sure they have the right books for the right class,” Helen says.To help ease the transition, parents should talk positively about moving into a new stage of schooling and help their kids be excited about being taught in a more ‘adult’ way.”

When it’s time for your kids to take the big leap to high school, Helen suggests making sure parents reinforce the positives and help their kids become effective time managers. Nothing’s worse than a looming deadline for eight new subjects!

Words // Nicholas Grech

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.