I was asked to give a talk on transition to parents of kids who had significant learning needs. This is the advice I gave them and I am sharing it here in the hope other teachers will share this information with parents who need it too. Here is a list of my top seven transition strategies for parents and the slides from my presentation. If you have any questions about this process or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
How can parents assist the transition from primary school to high school?
1. Be positive. If you are worried and stressed it is likely that your child will be too.
2. Ask questions of your child and of your school. Talk with your child so you know how they are feeling and address any worries they have. Talk to the high-school if you are uncertain about anything so we can alleviate your concerns.
3. Ask for help if you feel you need it. Our role is not only supporting the transition of students into high school but also helping parents on this journey too. Reach out to both the primary and high school for support.
4. Information is vital. Introduce your child to us by giving us as much information as you can. Any reports, documents or observations relating to your child are helpful. The better we know them, the better we can teach them.
5. Equip your students with the tools they need to transition effectively. Work with your child to develop their confidence, manage stress, devise coping strategies and support social skills. Eg. Relaxation techniques, conversation starters, a step by step guide your child can follow if a problem arises.
6. Insist on routine and sleep. Help them understand the school routine and assist them to stay in routine once school begins. Provide them with a watch so that they can follow the school routine independently. Sleep is also very important. Do not let them sleep to midday during the holidays as starting school will be even harder for them. Once school begins make sure they go to bed at a reasonable hour and have enough sleep to support them emotionally during the day.
7. Get organised. Organise a study area at home. Assist them in colour coding their school supplies and timetable. Use zip lock pouches to organise exercise books, worksheets and text books for each subject. This makes their equipment easy to find and grab when visiting their lockers.