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Ease the Transition to Middle School with These Tips

By: Mrs. Amanda Hayes, Head of Middle School
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

The middle school years are not only transitional, but they are also transformational! As students transition from elementary school to middle school, they face a variety of academic, social, and emotional changes and challenges. It is through these challenges that adolescents learn and grow into independent learners, thinkers, and citizens.

While parents may feel that middle school is a time to be “hands-off”, there is no time where adult guidance, support, and modeling is more needed than during adolescence. Here are some tips to help middle-schoolers transition through these critical years with ease.

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
Middle school students have to manage many transitions during their day as well as competing expectations of teachers, parents, and friends. Helping students to manage expectations by sharing strategies and modeling methods of time management, organization, and study strategies will give students an opportunity to figure out for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

TALK, TALK, TALK
Communication between home and school is critical to the success of adolescents. As students learn to find their voice, parents and teachers need to work together to encourage communication and self-advocacy. Encouraging students to communicate for themselves, while also modeling communication strategies and including students in conversations with teachers, is important in helping adolescents gain confidence in communications with others.

HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET
Middle school matters! But not in the same way as the high school transcript. Although middle school grades and disciplinary records may not be part of a permanent record for college, the skills and behaviors that students learn in middle school will certainly lay a foundation for their future success. Often times, the best learning happens when mistakes are made. When the mistakes happen, as they most definitely will, help your child identify his or her role in the situation and work through ways to learn and grow. An expectation of growth is realistic, an expectation of perfection is not.

BE SOCIAL
On any given day, middle school students are distracted by a number of social and emotional questions, concerns, and challenges. “Who am I?” “How do I fit in?” “How am I viewed by others?” As adolescents grapple with these questions, the expectations of their peers often conflict with that of teachers and parents. Know that the education of the middle school years is much more than what is reflected in the grade book. Encouraging students to explore new activities such as sports or arts can foster new friendships as well as supporting them through the “drama” of changing relationships and hurt feelings. Being in a social atmosphere will help lay a foundation of confidence, resilience, and autonomy that is necessary for success in high school, college, and life.

ENJOY IT!
The middle school years are most likely the last few years that you will have to make a significant impact on your child. While it may not seem like they are listening, they are (and watching too!). Spend time together. Talk about goals, dreams, passions, and family values. Speak up when you see something you don’t like and, just as importantly, when you see something you do. Be hands-off enough to let your child make mistakes, but hands on enough to brace the fall. And never, ever, remind your middle schooler how cute they were when they were little.

Located on a 30-acre campus in a residential area within five miles of the Atlantic Cape Henry Collegiate, serves approximately 950 students representing the entire Hampton Roads community. Established in 1924 as the Everett School, today Cape Henry Collegiate is the oldest accredited Prekindergarten through Grade 12, college-preparatory, coeducational, independent, day school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Middle School years are a period of rapid growth and change for young adolescents, resulting in a great diversity of psychological, social, and physical development among the student body. The Cape Henry Collegiate Middle School fosters an atmosphere in which knowledge means more than the accumulation of basic concepts, skills, and facts. If you are more interested in learning more about Cape Henry Collegiate or would like to explore our admissions process visit us online today to request more information.
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