Transitioning from the elementary classroom to middle school can be challenging or simple, depending on your student’s school. Your child may simply move to a different classroom or floor in the building, or may attend a new school altogether. If they will be attending a new school you may want to take a look at these tips on how to help your child transition to a new school. Regardless, the middle school transition is one to be mindful of as your child assumes more ownership of his or her learning. Here are a number of ways to prepare your student for the new stage in his or her education:
Learn about technological resources
In today’s classroom, technology is increasingly utilized to expand academic learning. Students turn to computers—and occasionally tablets—to complete research, locate resources, submit assignments, and communicate with teachers and other students. Encourage your child to learn about the computer systems and online platforms present in the school. Here is some great information about the future of technology in education. Certain schools have online portals where announcements or assignments are posted, while others may publish grade reports or syllabi online. Practice navigating these resources with your student, and encourage him or her to ask questions if he or she is unsure how to use them. Students can work with teachers, tutors, or other trusted administrators for this purpose.
Encourage the use of a planner or calendar
While your child may already be familiar with assignment notebooks, this organizational device is even more essential in the middle school years; middle school students often have a different teacher for each subject. Speak with your child about writing assignments down neatly and regularly. It may be helpful for some students to have a large calendar at home to record important dates or to color code by subject. It will be far easier for your child to manage both short- and long-term assignments if you first determine which methods work for him or her.
Organize materials and supplies
In addition to using a planner, assist your student with organizing his or her materials and supplies. He or she will likely move between multiple classrooms during the school day, so organization is key to success in the middle school transition. Which textbooks must be carried between school and home? Is there a system, such as binders or folders, already in place at school? Where does your child store completed homework or unfinished assignments? What about tests or important papers to be signed by you? Clearly labeled materials and color coordination may also benefit students. Now is the time for your child to develop the organizational skills that will be so crucial in high school and college.
Consider extracurriculars and community service
In middle school, greater emphasis is placed on extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports teams. Students may wish to run for office, such as president or secretary of their class, or they may wish to deepen an interest in the arts. These activities promote leadership skills and positive social experiences, but they, of course, consume time. Help your child plan an after-school routine that appropriately balances both academic and extracurricular engagements. These are some great tips on how to choose extracurricular activities in middle school.
Additionally, schools sometimes require the completion of community service hours. Have your student find out the details of this requirement including how many hours are necessary, where he or she can serve, and by when his or her community service must be completed. Taking extracurricular activities and community service into account will facilitate the middle school transition and make for a well-rounded education.
The middle schools years are a time of growth and independence. Prepare your child for the years ahead by fostering his or her various skill sets now.