At Mile High Academy we are fortunate to have a full school program that encompasses Preschool through 12th grade. However, that does not mean that students do not feel the stress of transitioning from grade to grade or school to school. Therefore, we have found ways to make these transitions exciting and smooth for students, parents, and teachers.
By definition, transition means the change from one place, state of being, or condition to another place, state of being, or condition (Merriam-Webster Online, 2015). From the moment parents drop their little ones off at Preschool to the day they watch their Seniors graduate high school, every day is a milestone of developmental changes. It’s not just classrooms and buildings but actual hormonal, mental, and physical changes with which each adolescent faces. “Each of these transitions affects young adolescents’ academic experiences, motivation, self-perception, and self-regulatory beliefs (Parker, 2013; Perkins, 1995).” (amle.org)
It’s not only our students that are affected, however, parents and teachers also experience these changes in their own ways. For transitions to occur properly, for programs to develop effectively, the expectations of the students have to be considered by those around them. (amle.org) Because as worries as we are as parents about how our students will fare once they are thrust into unknown environments, how much more stress are they experiencing going into these environments.
And, as the grades progress, the expectations of independence and responsibility also progresses. They go from Preschool, where they are with their teacher 100% of the time, to Kindergarten where they begin to have specials with different teachers, to Middle and Upper schools where students are expected to get to and from classes on their own, manage time wisely, use a locker, organize and keep up with materials for multiple classes, be responsible for all classwork and homework from multiple teachers, and at the same time develop and maintain a social life.
The main thing we can do as parents and educators is provide known expectations. From the moment we tell them they are going to start school, move on to a new grade, move on to a new school, we can provide them with a model within which they can begin to navigate. Giving students true transitions impacts students’ academic performance.
Some of the things we do at MHA:
- provide Shadow Days where students can experience our classrooms before moving into the environment
- school tours
- parent and student receptions where we discuss the differences between elementary, middle school, and upper schools
- question and answer sessions
- graduation programs for all levels, Preschool, Kindergarten, Eighth Grade, High School
By implementing transition activities like these, your student, and by extension parents and teachers, will have an easier time moving forward, building community, and feeling comfortable through all stages of their educational career.
(see pictures of 8th Grade Reception below)