Student stress: Transitioning from elementary to middle school

WATCH ABOVE: As students head back to school, some will be emerging on a brand new school. The transition from elementary to middle school can be stressful for some students. Quinn Campbell reports.

LETHBRIDGE- The hallways of schools throughout the city will soon be filled with new students learning where their classrooms are, meeting teachers and picking a locker.

Brandon Fletcher is a Grade 6 teacher at G.S. Lakie Middle School. He said sometimes it can be the smallest detail that can be the most worrisome for students.

“I think the number one concern on day one is a locker,” he said. “I think every kid just doesn’t want to be that kid that can’t open their locker. We deal with so much of that and those are probably the only tears I’ve seen. They figure it out the first time and then it’s fine after that.”

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Adjusting from elementary school to middle school can come with challenges. School counsellor Pam Garner said for some students, the change of surroundings can be a lot to take in.

“For some it’s a little harder, and that’s where the counseling team will help out,” she said. “There are several children that we know about previously that just need a little bit more. This week and part of next week we have meetings set up with families of kids who just need to come in and go through the school again, hopefully meet their teachers,” added Fletcher.

At G.S. Lakie Middle School, orientation is key. Students get to come in the spring for a first look, then get reacquainted the first day back in September.

“The first day they’re ‘deer in headlights,’ and they try and look at everything all at once,” said Fletcher. “They try to figure out their schedule all at once, the locker, and where they are supposed to be, and it’s like anything; you just need to look at it one step at a time.”

Parents can help ease their child’s stress through the transition by keeping the lines of communication open.

“I think it’s really important for parents to communicate with their kids, but also the teacher, what their expectations are. Sometimes we think the kids are okay, and the kids are feeling like they are a failure. Sometimes we think they are doing really well, and they don’t feel that way,” added Fletcher.

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Garner said all the steps the school and staff take are to make the transition for students as easy as possible.

“It’s about being proactive rather than reactive.”

Students return to class Sept. 2.