surroundings. “‘What if I get lost?What if I can’t find the bathroom?’Those are legitimate concerns andthat’s a big thing we deal with,especially in the first couple ofmonths,” says Sandy Cordingley, ateacher who helps kids settle intotheir next grade at St. Elizabeth SetonElementary/Junior High School inEdmonton.
Most schools in Alberta provideorientation for students so they canfind their way around and “see whatthe lockers look like,” Cordingleysays. Other activities can includescavenger hunts, tours by olderstudents and one-on-one tours forstudents with special needs.
“Transitions are really, really
critical for a kid,” she says. “I’ve seen
the difference it makes if you make a
point of connecting—especially with
kids who have special needs. It can
make all the difference in attendance
and not falling through the cracks.”
You can help your kids by talking
about your own experiences getting
used to a new school (or job) and
encouraging your child to imagine
their new situation. “Parents can
help their children create a picture
in their mind,” says Alberta Health
Services’ Leslianne Sugiura, who
works with Alberta Education to
meet students’ needs.
Sugiura recommends talkingthrough what kids are picturingand asking what they might do indifferent situations. She also suggestskeeping in touch with your child’steachers and school as she gets older.“It’s really important not to lose theconnection between the parent andthe school and the child—all three,”Sugiura says.
And if you’re nervous about the
move, don’t pass it on. “For the most
part, kids are resilient and eager,
especially once they have gone
through kindergarten—they already
like learning and want to continue,”
That’s certainly the case with Olive,
Tips for moving to the next grade:•;Go;to;the;school’s;open;house;or;ask;for;a;tour•;Ask;your;child;to;imagine;the;new;situation;and;talk;through;how;to;deal;with;it•;If;you’re;anxious;about;your;child’s;move,;don’t;pass;it;on•;Stay;connected;to;the;school—regardless;of;the;grade;your;child;is;in•;Ask;the;school;for;more;information;on;how;to;help;ease;your;child;into;the;next;grade.
who says she’s looking forward tomeeting new people and learningmore about numbers.
— Jennifer Allford