Preparing students for transition from primary to high school

Adolescence has never been easy. Not for adolescents, their parents, or their teachers.

In addition to the physical and mental changes, the transition from primary to high school can be very stressful and daunting.

Research indicates that “The transition to secondary school is a social and academic turning point for adolescents.”1

In addition, “The disruptive nature of the transition process means that previously-learned behaviour patterns need to be adapted to new demands and more challenging environments, which may have a strong negative impact on peer relations and academic achievement.”2

The good news is that the issues associated with this transition can be eased, and it starts in Year 6. Besides preparing students for the practicalities of what to expect in high school life, it is imperative to give them skills and understanding to cope with the social and emotional difficulties they will encounter. This will give them a head start for the future.

Fortunately, the Australian and Western Australian curriculum standards include social and emotional learning. This can play a key role in easing the transition.

Research from leading experts in the field of mental wellbeing – such as Professor Richard Davidson and Dr Mary Immordino-Yang – indicates that mental, social and emotional health are key to students performing to their maximum capacity.

Among the social and emotional learning options, DRUMBEAT Quest is acknowledged as an innovative and engaging program. It covers topics such as peer pressure, relationships, communication, rumour and innuendo, emotions, trust and resilience. This adventure game is making a positive difference in many schools and has won multiple awards.

The Swan View Primary School is one such school; its Principal said “DRUMBEAT Quest raised important issues for our children and I noticed a great improvement in their social and emotional understanding. I highly recommend this program.”

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1Langenkamp, 2009; Smith, Akos, Lim & Wiley, 2008  2Ding, 2008