The high school transition days are pretty much all over now so it’s time for me to share some thoughts on the whole process. We do our best to prepare our kids for these days and there’s a few common experiences that they all share. Here’s my somewhat tongue in cheek summary of what all 11-year-olds should know!
What you need to know about high school transition days
- They are going to feel small. Nothing prepares kids for the physical difference between high school kids and primary school kids. Think about how you felt when you last started a new job and then imagine you were in an office full of giants. That’s how it feels for a Year 7 kid. Those who, like my daughter, have older siblings will be used to getting shoulder barged in the corridor and having food thrown at them (yes, my house is that bad!) Other kids may not. This can come as a bit of a shock.
- The other kids don’t look like them. It’s not just the size that is astonishing. The kids in Year 10 and beyond have adult bodies. They are not just bigger versions of Year 7s, they are like a different species. As puberty is located right in the middle of the high school years, kids come out looking very different to how they went in!
- Being separated from their friends is not a bad thing. This can seem like an utter catastrophe to an 11-year-old but it truly is not. Both my elder daughters were separated from primary school friends and is was a wholly positive thing. They mixed with a whole range of other children that they may not have even spoken to if they had been huddled with their familiar group.
- The school puts on a good show. We all know that high schools do their best to make the new kids feel welcome and impress them. The best equipment is brought out and the most engaging activities are organised. Everyone smiles and is on their best behaviour. Think of it as the same as your house when your great aunt comes to stay. It scrubs up pretty well but you know damn well that it’s not always like that!
- They won’t know where they are going. High schools are, on the whole, bigger than primary schools and this is one of the things that scares the life out of kids. Getting lost is a real concern. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my daughter’s new school now provide a map so at least the kids have something to look at over the holidays! It’s amazing how quickly they become familiar with the layout and will soon be showing others around.
High school transition days are a part of growing up. They’ll survive them the same as everything else!