Got the middle school jitters?

Visiting the school first can help ease the transition

Transitioning from elementary to middle school brings many questions and concerns for both parents and students. Moving up to middle or junior high school can be both scary and exciting. Parents can help their preteens prepare for this monumental transition by gathering information and staying involved in their child’s education.

“It is common to be anxious because transitioning is a big change. It is very important for parents to understand their children’s anxiety, especially when multiple schools are coming together to form one, as in the transition from elementary to middle school,” says Diana Musich, principal at Cornwall Central Middle School.

If possible, get a feel for your child’s middle school before his enrollment. Most middle schools offer an orientation for its incoming students and their parents.

Tips for heading back to school!

“Make sure they go to the school’s orientation and walk through the building,” says Bonnie Wagner, guidance counselor for grades 7 and 8 at John G. Borden Middle School in Wallkill. “Oftentimes students are worried about getting lost or not being able to open up their locker – these things are new to them. Practice with opening a lock over the summer and it will help reduce their anxiety.”

A phone call or meeting with a guidance counselor or an administrator may also be helpful and will give parents a chance to ask questions about classes and scheduling.

“If your student is anxious about beginning middle school you can make an appointment to see a guidance counselor, one of his teachers or even the principal to discuss individual concerns,” says Wagner. 

You may even request a tour of the school with your child.

Whenever possible, registration should be completed well before the first week of school. Last-minute registrations may result in poor elective class choices or even missing their first day of school.

Louise Hajjar Diamond has been a guidance counselor since 1990 in Florida. She can be reached at www.counselorsclips.com.