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24 May 2013
New School, New Teachers and New Rules
Parents who have students transitioning into middle school or junior high in the fall may have a lot of anxiety about the change in school, new teachers, new rules, new kids and so much more. What can parents do make the transition smoother both parents and student?
- First, take a deep breath! Transitions are a natural part of life for everyone. Going to a new school, moving to a new state, starting a new job, getting married, or having a baby are just a few of the natural transitions that can occur in life.
- Transitions take time and require learning to adapt and preparing for the new experience. As parents, teachers and caregivers, our role is to help prepare kids for these types of transitions in school.
Here are a few ideas to help you and your son feel better about the new adventure:
- Visit the new school. Take the opportunity to visit with your child so he can get a sense of the school, see how classes are structured, meet some of the teachers, and practice opening the “infamous” locker (a big milestone between elementary and middle school). Take a few pictures of the school so you can have them, if needed, for a social story or a daily picture schedule.
- Address concerns you have about transition with the IEP team. Spend time in your IEP meeting determining any accommodations and/or modifications that may be helpful during the transition to the new school. Remember to build on your son’s strengths and interests to design the IEP to support all of his needs in middle school.
- Take advantage of summer programs. Some schools have academic and/or recreational summer programs. These can be great opportunities for your son to gain some skills in navigating the school and an opportunity to meet new students before school starts.
- Embrace all the new possibilities. Middle school offers a lot of new opportunities for your son including extracurricular sports and clubs, classes, and social activities.
Here are a few suggestions to help you, as his parent, survive the middle school transition:
- Get connected with the school. Go to back-to-school nights, open houses, parent-teacher conferences and other events where you can connect with the school staff and other parents.
- Be a resource for the teachers. Meet with the new teachers and other school staff and let them know how you can support them in working with your son. It is also important to express any concerns you might have. Communication is key!
- A little planning can go a long way in making this a smooth and successful transition for both you and your son. Remember to listen to your son and encourage him as he starts one of the biggest transitions in his young life!
- The Utah Parent Center is happy to support you in this journey. Please feel free to call us at 801.272.1051 or toll-free in Utah at 1.800.468.1160 or email us at email@example.com
Adapted and used with permission from Peak Parent Center’s SpeakOut Newsletter. www.peakparent.org