So your child is moving on to High school…Managing the transition

Before you know it your primary school aged child will be thinking and talking about going to secondary school.

Transitioning from primary to secondary school is a major life event for your child and your family. It is also an exciting time, full of prospects; growing up, becoming a teenager, facing new challenges, and changing friendships.

However, some children may view this new adventure with reservation and anxiety around changes to curriculum subjects, old and new friendship groups and expectations from teaching staff and others. 

The following suggestions aim to assist with a supportive and smooth transition:

  1. Discuss and involve your child in all aspects of looking at and picking the school to transition to including:
    • the type of school (public, religious, private or home schooling)
    • size of the school 
    • curriculum and other subjects/activities offered 
    • school proximity to home and travel time
    • school culture and expectations
    • friends attending or others known to the family 
    • student support and well being
  2. Encourage open discussions with your child about their thoughts and feelings in regards to the transition and monitor any behaviour changes.
  3. Visit and practise going to the school (e.g. build familiarity with school routes and surrounding areas).
  4. Increase your child’s independence skills (e.g. dressing and personal care, looking after belongings, understanding timetables and review the layout of the school for easy transition between classes). 
  5. Integrate and consolidate home routines with school routines (e.g. morning, afternoon and night time routines).
  6. Connect with other families attending the school.
  7. Understand where to go and who to go for for support or help in the school.
  8. Provide your child with resources (e.g. books, websites or other information about growing up and transitioning to secondary school).

The Victorian Government has provided the following website to assist families with the transition to secondary school:

Written by Senior Psychologist Kim McGregor

Kim McGregor is a registered Psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational & Developmental Psychology. She has worked extensively with infants, children and their families in not for profit, early childhood, specialised school and government multidisciplinary settings providing assessment, diagnosis and treatment for their developmental, cognitive, social, emotional and learning needs.

Her goal is to always work from a person centred and family focused partnership with parents providing clear communication, empathy and support throughout the journey of understanding and helping their child.

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