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Becoming Big School Ready!

Some of your children are heading into year 6, or have left and are about to start 'Big School'. It can be a very anxious time for a child as they transition from being one of the eldest and more experienced students in school where you know everybody, into being a young year 7 with no clue who everyone is, where they are going or what is expected of them. At ELC we have a course specifically for Year 6's and their transition into secondary school - however, if your child needs some extra special advice from mummy/daddy, here are a few pointers:

Encourage them to Follow Instructions and Write things Down:

When you start big school, (at least when I did a decade ago) we were given great shiny planners. It felt like a physical representation of the shift in my independence - we were now expected to remember things. We had to remember our schedule, to write down when we had homework due and sometimes (around the time I was in year 10/11) I had to write down important dates to inform my parents of.

Now, in the first couple of years, if your child loses their schedule, or forgets to write something down, it's not going to result in catastrophe. Why it is important that your child follows instructions as well as they possibly can, and makes an effort to remember things, is so when GCSEs start looming they don't suddenly feel overwhelmed with the idea of being responsible.

You can encourage them to follow instructions by asking them to fetch you something, helping with a recipe or a shopping list. You could even ask them to write the shopping list themselves, adding more detailed descriptions of products you're looking for when they are more confident. Memory games are a fun way of practicing short term memory and can help with memorizing details as well as items. For example, Mrs Boughey went to the shop and bought: a tin of beans, a punnet of strawberries, a loaf of brown bread, a packet of chicken flavoured noodles - and so on and so on.

Dressed to the Nines!:

It may seem a small thing, but dressing quickly is pivotal for secondary school kids starting PE, not to mention if you have a tight morning schedule. As PE sessions rarely last longer than an hour children are usually expected to undress and dress within about five minutes, so getting down their general dress skills, plus zippers, poppers, buttons and shoes is extremely helpful.

For any children that might struggle with taking shoes on and off in such a short time, velcro shoes are a great solution. They might need to tie knots and bows regardless (such as in food tech, Art, Design & Technology, and of course properly fastening lab coats in Science) so knowing how to double knot will save endless refastening. Children with longer hair will be expected to tie hair back for safety reasons, so have them practice and make sure they have spare bobbles in their bag. Some schools are fairly strict on having the right PE kit (even when it comes down to the colour of socks and trainers) so making sure your child has the right kit will help things go smoothly in their first year. Do not fret too much however, as teachers will understand new students and parents not being entirely aware of the dress code.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work:

Secondary school is where children start to encounter 'team projects', so getting your child familiar with sharing and listening to others will help them make friends, and establish a good work ethic with other students. You can create your own projects at home via a poster, a collaborative drawing, a recipe or a puzzle! Assign each person a specific task where you praise them for their efforts, emphasising how amazing and unique each person's contribution is.

It is also important that your child knows not only how to be kind and giving, but how to stick up for themselves when other children are being unfair or giving them a disproportionate amount of the workload. Telling a teacher is the best option if the other child is refusing to cooperate, as a teacher can act as a mediator.

Everyone's a Little Scared!

Whether they seem it or not, everyone is a little scared to start year 7 and meet all these new people, so remind your child that they are not alone. The first few days might be a little rocky, but eventually, they will find their footing and will likely have a whole group of new friends!

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