Moving from elementary to middle school is a significant transition in more ways than one. The work is more difficult. The social scene has become more complicated. And, in many cases, the school building is much larger and more difficult to navigate. Children, both with and without learning and cognitive differences, face new challenges.
However, the most difficult adjustment may be to the changes in routine. Middle school is usually the first time a child has to switch classrooms and work with different teachers. It could also be their first time using a locker and transferring books and materials between classes.
Children react to these challenges in a variety of ways. And certain learning and thinking differences, such as, can exacerbate the adjustment process. Follow these steps to help your child adjust to the new routines that come with beginning middle school.
Talk about the upcoming changes
It’s possible your child has heard it before, perhaps at middle school orientation or from a grade school teacher. However, children speak as well. And the information they share isn’t always accurate.
Distinguish between fact and fiction, and talk to your child about the changes in routine that you know will occur. In addition to changing classes, your child may have block periods in middle school. As a result, classes may be much longer than your child is accustomed to. Perhaps for the first time, there will be a homeroom period. As much as possible, let your child know what to expect.
Get the class schedule early and review it together
Some schools don’t provide class schedules early enough, so make sure your child has time to work out where they need to be at what times. Check over the calendar and see if there are any mistakes before helping them create a schedule that’s easy for themselves!
Tour the building with the schedule in hand
One of the most difficult challenges for new middle school students is getting from class to class on time and with all of the necessary materials. Checking out the building before the start of school, using your child’s schedule as a guide, can be beneficial. Practice getting from one class to the next in the time allotted.
Take time to walk around. Find the cafeteria, gym, library and bathrooms or head over to your child’s locker in order for them to know where everything is related with their education at school!
Set a new daily routine at home
Your child’s middle school may have different start and end times than his or her elementary school. If it begins earlier, begin your morning earlier as well. This can help to avoid a frantic rush out the door. Attempt to adjust bedtime as well, though this may be more difficult with a tween than with a grade-schooler.
If school ends earlier, you may need to change your child’s after school routine. What will your child do with the extra hour or so in the afternoon? Doing your homework? Have you had a previous music lesson or tutoring session? You can solicit input from your child, but make sure the routine you develop is clear.
Organize materials according to the class schedule
When your child doesn’t have much time between classes, keeping class materials organized can be difficult. You might want to collaborate to color-code by subject. Use a blue notebook and a blue book cover for science, a green notebook and a green book cover for social studies, and so on.
You can also devise a strategy for organizing your child’s backpack and locker in accordance with the class schedule. That way, your child can quickly grab whatever is required for each class without having to waste time looking for it.
It takes time to get used to new routines. Tell your child that everyone will understand if it takes some time to figure out how to handle everything. Teachers, school administrators, and you are all included.
Remind children that they are not alone. Middle school is a transitional period for all students. Tell your child that it’s normal to be nervous. Also, reassure your child that you are available to offer support and assistance.
Mesa, Arizona is blessed to be the home of many of the state’s best middle schools. Here’s a shortlist you should check out:
- Santa Maria Middle School
- Cooley Middle School
- Self Development Charter School
- ASU Preparatory Academy- Polytechnic Middle School
- Heritage Academy Laveen
- Mesa Arts Academy
- Imagine Schools East Mesa Elementary and Middle School
- BASIS Mesa
- Mesa Distance Learning Program
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1630 South Stapley Drive, Suite 212 in Mesa, Arizona! Stop by for a visit anytime!