Transition tips for the new school year

The first day of a new school year can be both exciting but also terrifying - especially those who are new to the School.

Whilst these first day jitters are completely valid and normal, for some kids they can be all consuming and linger well beyond that first day.

Being new means there are new processes and rules to absorb and comprehend and new relationships to form with students and teachers.

Some students can embrace the uncertainty and roll with it. But for others, mornings can be filled with nerves and relief and exhaustion at the end of each school day.

As a parent, it can be hard to assess what is just a passing phase, versus what needs some extra intervention.

There are few better qualified to notice those that aren’t coping with transition than Julie Ellwood, Urwin Centre Receptionist, and mother of three boys – she has seen it all.

When the new Year 7 boys had their transition day, they were taken on a tour of their new surrounds and introduced to Julie at the Urwin Centre.  The teacher conducting the tour said “This is Julie, she knows everything that is happening here. And if she doesn’t know something, she will find out for you. Everyone, say hello to Julie – she will be very important to you when you start”.

In Julie’s experience “They just need to find that thing that gets them to school – whether that be sport, music, art, friends – whatever it is. They just need to find it.”

For one young boy who had spent his primary years at a co-ed school with his older sisters watching over him, the move to a single-sex boy’s school was exciting and terrifying in equal measure. ‘’Everyone knew me at my old school, I was someone… Now no-one knows me.”

As an adult it is easy to rationalise and accept this interim phase, but for some kids this is the first time in their lives that they may feel adrift. Often, they are less verbal about the inner turmoil they are navigating – but there can be small signs such as being more emotional than normal, not eating their lunch or just looking full of nerves and dread each morning.

For a parent of a child who is finding transition particularly tough, it can be draining. A few suggestions to help through this transition time include:

  • Encourage good sleep patterns including earlier to bed than normal
  • Provide extra assistance with planning for each day such as checking the school diary at night to see what needs to be packed for the next day e.g. sports uniform and equipment
  • Discuss homework and ensure due dates are noted
  • Talk to your child about their new teachers and subjects as well as their impressions and expectations
  • Talk to your child about your own memories and experiences at times of major change in your life and how you made it through
  • Make a time to check in weekly (perhaps over Sunday dinner) to help with forward planning and to find out if there are extra events on, for example an excursion, fundraising event, casual clothes or school camp
  • Discuss any subjects that are causing particular concern
  • Contact the School to make them aware of extra support that maybe needed
  • Contact a psychologist – if professional help is needed

From a school’s point of view, we want to know if your child is feeling this way.  Brighton Grammar can offer additional support to make it through this time of transition. Please reach out to your Head of Year or Head of House if needed.