These last few years dealing with the Covid Pandemic have certainly been strange – many children have not come out of it the strong, resilient, sociable kids that we want them to be, and social skills have suffered in many cases. Throw into the mix the big change to Secondary School, and this can lead to some worries for the parents as well as the child.
In the pre covid years, I’ve ran workshops in a number of Schools for 6th class students to help them prepare for Secondary School.
I believe in preparing our kids, since every year (for many years), there are children coming to us for help; either worried about starting, or after they start are finding it difficult to adjust.
Common worries when moving into Secondary School:
- Homework – that there will be way too much, even at the weekend and you won’t be able to keep up.
- Where to go – that you won’t be able to find your way around, you will get lost, it’s a big place with hundreds of other students.
- Friends – that you won’t know many people and may have trouble making friends. Who will you sit beside/eat lunch with etc. Will you be in a class with any friends.
- Exams and pressure – yes some even worry about how they will do in exams and tests, and worry about disappointing parents and how to keep on top of the workload for so many different subjects.
- Organisation- colour coding subjects, using lockers to swap over copies/books, not losing your locker key or timetable.
Due to the pandemic we have now expanded the workshop to include practical exercise where children get to practice their social skills in a safe environment. We have put together a 3 hour workshop for 5th and 6th Class Primary School students to tackle these concerns.
You can read about them here (below the summer camp information). We will be working all of the above areas – including how to make a new friend, breaking the ice and small talk.
There are other online resources to help families adjust. The most important thing is to discuss it with your child and not pass on any of your own fears or worries to them. Talking about it in a positive light with practical suggestions is the best option. Making sure they know someone in their class or school on the first day, is another practical thing you can do as a parent – it may mean networking friends and other parents, to find someone that your child can be introduced to over the summer. There is no doubt, it’s tough age these kids are at, they’re becoming more self conscious, more embarrassed by their parents – so navigating this is a minefield, so tread gently.
Best of luck to all the 6th Class students finishing up in June, thankfully they will be starting Secondary School without masks!