7 tips to help prepare your child for their first day of high school
For parents with children about to start high school, we have a few tips to help you prepare for the big day.
1. VISIT THE SCHOOL
Stuartholme offers an Orientation Day for all new Year 7 students. At Orientation the students will meet their Year 11 ‘Big Sister’ who will be able to help your daughter navigate the school and answer any questions she may have.
2. BE ORGANISED, BOTH YOU AND YOUR CHILD
You will need to have the uniform and book list well before your daughter’s first day. Making sure she has everything she needs will help her to feel less stressed.
3. IF YOUR CHILD WILL BE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, DO A PRACTICE RUN
Go with your daughter on the buses/trains she will use to get to and from school. Make sure she has a copy of the timetable so she knows when to be at the bus stop/railway station. In partnership with Brisbane Bus Lines, Stuartholme offers a number of bus routes on Stuartholme branded buses. Check the website to see if you live near one of the routes.
4. COPY YOUR CHILD’S TIMETABLE AND LOCKER COMBINATION
There comes a time when your daughter will have to look after herself, but in the early weeks it’s a good idea to keep a copy of her timetable. This will not only help to make sure she has all her books, but clothes for Health and Physical Education or other sports too.
5. KNOW WHO TO CONTACT AT THE SCHOOL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS
At Stuartholme each year group has a dedicated Leader of Student Wellbeing. This teacher is your best contact point for anything you need to know. Your daughter will also have a small class called their ‘Teacher Mentor Group’. This teacher is responsible for marking the first roll of the day and will be another point of contact.
6. BE PRESENT FOR YOUR DAUGHTER AND GENTLY OBSERVE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
All points of transition in both adolescent and adult development can present emotional experiences of loss, sadness and regret as well as excitement and hope. If your daughter is not as excited or happy as you would have expected in the first few weeks or months of school, be careful not to rush to conclusions or to jolly her along too much. There may be lots happening beneath the surface that she may not be able to articulate or that may seem inconsequential to our adult brains. The most helpful thing you can do if you suspect your daughter is not quite herself is to simply slow own, pay attention, be present for her and be around. You may not feel like you are being as productive as you would like to towards ‘getting to the bottom’ of what is happening, but by being calm and loving you are reinforcing a secure attachment for your daughter. It is in environments of security, love and calm that young people do their best growing and figuring everything out.
7. KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE BALANCED
Yes, finishing primary school and starting high school is significant, however, it is important to keep these transitions in perspective and make it part of the ‘bigger picture’ of your daughter’s life. Although they would be loath to admit it, young people still look to the adults in their lives to gauge their own reactions to new experiences. If we overly emphasise the ‘bigness’ of starting high school, we risk overwhelming our children and sometimes putting undue pressure on them. If we appear overly nonchalant about starting high school, our children may feel underwhelmed about the experience which can sometimes have negative effects on motivation and performance.
Written by Kate Gilmore in collaboration with Danielle Baker, Stuartholme