Here we are in Term Four already and the topic of conversation will start very soon as to what grades and teachers students will be hoping to get next year, or not! There will be our Grade Six students making the transition into secondary school, new Preps making the transition from Kindergarten and also those students starting at a new school. This can be an anxious time for students, parents and teachers!
There is a lot of time and consideration put into grade placements every year. There are so many factors to consider throughout this process. There is always the opportunity for parents to put in requests for their child as to who they are placed with for various reasons. As parents, we have to be aware of our attitudes and opinions and ensure we are not being seen as negative towards certain possibilities that may occur with grade placements.
I have always viewed requests as something that is done for certain reasons, not that your child may not want to be placed with a certain teacher because they may not like them or they are strict or because they want to be with certain friends. I think putting in requests can be seen as a way of ensuring our children get what they want. In fact, this isn’t encouraging your child to build or demonstrate resilience because your child knows that you have asked for certain teachers or friendships. There is a time and a place for requests, don’t get me wrong, but they shouldn’t become the ‘norm.’
If you have a new Prep starting with older siblings at school already, they may experience the transition a little easier having been familiar with the school environment. If you have a Prep starting and they are the eldest then it would be a good idea to start bringing them to school over the holidays or on the weekend for a play on the playground and walk around the school so they are familiar with school grounds. Some students with special needs or high anxiety, may benefit from a story board or collage of pictures featuring their classroom teacher and specialist teachers and even their buddy.
This is always a good way of easing some of those levels of anxiety. I would recommend students who are starting at new schools to participate in transition days at their new school and have another familiarisation tour before the year end. They too, if possible, could visit the school grounds over holidays and weekends so they are familiar with their new surrounds. If they are able to find out who their teacher will be, a brief meet and greet would be even better. I have had students and their parents in the past come and introduce themselves to me ready for the following year. I applaud those students and parents as it is always nice to break the ice and perhaps alleviate any pre conceived ideas parents have of you! I just love that goldfish bowl feeling on day one of school when all the parents are there and almost waiting for something to happen other than the kids settling into their new class.
It is important to remain positive about the year ahead and make a point of speaking to the teacher or principal class if your child is overly anxious or concerned. Often a meeting with your child and the teacher can put them at ease and it also gives the teacher an idea of what their concerns are. If you feel such a meeting is required before the Christmas break, certainly make a point of speaking to the teacher. Our children can be easily influenced by our own ideas and attitudes towards certain teachers and other children. It is important you encourage your child and discuss the positive aspects of the year ahead.