Many of John and Crosley’s favorite readers are fifth graders. When this school year comes to a close in a few short weeks, they will be saying goodbye to elementary school. This is an exciting transition; emotions may run from happy to nervous to happy again and even a little sad.
To help your student navigate this change, celebrate the past, consider what the transition means and how they feel, and construct plans, ideas, and routines for moving forward.
Help your child remember all they’ve accomplished and how they’ve grown during elementary school. Get out the school pictures and talk about each year. Compare their writing and artwork from year to year and celebrate their progress. Ask your child to remember their best day from each grade. Then, write a story or create an art project capturing those good memories.
Plan a rite of passage. If your school doesn’t have a graduation ceremony, create a ceremony of your own. For example, have your child jump over a stick or cross a bridge to show the passage from elementary to middle school.
Help your child process what will be different about middle school and what they will miss about their elementary experience. If their friends will go to other middle schools, plan opportunities to connect over the summer. Understand that emotions may change from week to week or even hour to hour. Let your student know it’s normal to feel a mix of happy and sad, anticipation and anxiety. Share how you’ve processed transitions in your life, such as new schools or job changes.
Don’t wait until August to help transition to new routines. If possible, tour the middle school. Get the schedule and talk about new homework routines. Ask your child to help plan a schedule for home and school to set them up for success.
John and Cros are cheering all of our fifth graders on. Great adventures are ahead!