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How can you prepare your Yr6 child for secondary school?

(23 Posts)
PastSellByDate Thu 23-Jan-14 11:01:44

Also agree with Cory. My DD1 is also year 6 and has limited organisational skills.

Our solution is minor skirmishes:

So even though I know there is a football game against another school coming up if DD1 doesn't bring me the permission slip she doesn't go. She missed one match because she forgot to get the slip out of her drawer and put it in her book bag for about 3 days running. I was very calm - just kept saying well try and remember the slip tomorrow when she said something at dinner/ before bed, but didn't go overboard about reminding her and didn't go into the office/ e-mail school to sort it out. She never did remember the slip so missed the match but has never forgotten a permission slip since then.

Teach them about timekeeping. So we ask DD1 to keep an eye on the clock and let us know when it's time to go. She forgot once and we barely made it to school on time. She didn't like cutting it that fine and since then has kept better time.

Road Safety - really important to ensure they know to look both ways before crossing the road. I've also made a point of talking about the 'tricky intersection' with her and commenting what a good thing it was I was driving slowly, when I'm surprised by a senior school girl/ boy who suddenly walks out in front of my car. [I haven't yet - but we will talk about whether it's better to cross the road by our house - then at the tricky intersection].

Remembering stuff - we're not replacing what she loses. She had a really funky pen with buttons for different colours and left it somewhere at school and we can't replace it because we bought it on holiday. It's helped her understand to keep track of things.


fortunately for us secondary school will be nearer - <5 minutes walk. But I do know friends have ridden on the bus with their DDs in the summer to practice the route to school a bit.


SonorousBip Wed 22-Jan-14 14:20:27

I like your post, Cory, and competely agree. It is one of the reasons why I did not want an "all-through" school for my dc. DS - and we - needed a break and for him to re-start as a different person, not just continue being "nice old Ds who we have known since nursery".

I was very used to firing off a quick email to DS's Y6 teacher - FGS, we were on first name terms and air kissing by the end of Y6 - but now my "power" to intervene is really pretty limited. So sorry, DS, if you leave your shoes in the changing rooms at the sports field they will make their way back to school under the lost property system but it will take 1-2 days, you will have to wear your trainers in the meantime and if you get an order mark for wearing the wrong uniform, that is a consequence of it. I'm not - can't - email your teacher and say "oops, he is trying but he is a bit disorganised", and both of us have to understand that.

PiqueABoo Wed 22-Jan-14 12:39:44

" it can be great fun to experience as a parent"

Does that "fun" happen without or without a Y6 DD's creeping hormones? We've been slowly turning up the responsibilities since last year (school joined in quite heavily this year which is good), but it can sometimes be a little tempestuous.

littlepurplealien Wed 22-Jan-14 11:46:11

Excellent food for thought, so glad I read this thread.

If there was a like button for the thread I'd have clicked on it.

cory Wed 22-Jan-14 09:57:39

The other thing you will have to start practising is the parental mindshift wink

Because primary school is such a long continuous process, it is easy to miss that our children actually change an awful lot during those seven years- and then they get to secondary school and are expected to take responsibility for themselves and manage their own work and social life. It doesn't have to be a nasty or scary process- in fact, it can be great fun to experience as a parent- but it is something you have to be prepared for.

Gradually, you will need to get into the habit of saying "Well, you had better go and see Mr X about this and ask what he wants you to do" or "Well, if you choose to do things this way then I am afraid these are the consequences" rather than dash in to rescue your little one and stand between them and the outside world. It doesn't have to happen all at once, and there are times when even the toughest pre-teen needs to be little, but it needs to be moving in that direction.

pointythings Wed 22-Jan-14 09:49:04

We started in Yr5 out of necessity, so DD2 has been walking to and from school independently for well over a year now. YY to doing homework and managing it independently, and if there are any after school activities going, see if she wants to do any. DD2 has something going on 4 days a week and loves it. DD1 is in Yr8 and does sports of some kind most days, DD2 is looking forward to having the same range of options.

I would not worry too much about the social aspects of Yr7. DD1's school makes a point of not putting friends in the same tutor group and I was initially very hmm about that, but she ended up making a lot of good new friends very quickly and still saw her existing friends often because they were in the same sets and had lessons together. And form tutors in Yr7 do tend to be very on the ball in looking after their groups.

TeenAndTween Wed 22-Jan-14 09:35:40

As well as travelling, independence and phone:
- keeping track of own homework, and being responsible for remembering to take it back on the right day
- get into habit of not leaving homework until the last minute
- before September, providing a good quiet workspace and place to store stuff
- thinking/talking about how to meet new friends - possible opening lines for conversations etc. Also situations that may arise and how to handle them. (What if: you miss the bus, see someone being mean, lose your way, don't understand the homework ...)

Also check out new school at going home time if you can at some point. Do books live at school or at home? What kind of bags do the y7/y8s have?

We found that after SATs and during the summer all the y6s seemed to 'grow up' quite a bit and be ready for secondary. So as long as you do the basic preparation she should be fine. smile

woodrunner Wed 22-Jan-14 09:02:38

Hi Arthur,

Good idea to start now. Yes, we did start in yr 6 to introduce tiny amounts of independence that they were comfortable with, then increase it so that by summer holidays they were able to travel into local town on public transport unaided.

Started by:
going into town with them, dropping them in their favourite shop to look around while I went to a nearby shop for 10-15 minutes.

Did that a few times. Then dropped them with instructions to go to up to three of their favourite shops, and i would meet them at a specific place.

Then started to ask them to do small amounts of local shopping for me - nearest shop for a pint of milk etc.

Then gave them money to meet with friends at village cafe for a drink or a snack and to be back by a certain time.

It helps to travel with them on public transport instead of by car. That way they get familiar with where bus stops/trains are.

Then they went into town with very confident friends who went to school there and knew the public transport systems. Before going in alone, we had a military checklist of: phone charged, switched on and topped up with all our numbers keyed into it, travel card, money, watch. You could add transport timetable to that.

LittleMissGreen Wed 22-Jan-14 08:53:41

Check your intended school's policy on phones. DS1 is NOT allowed a phone in school. No exceptions.

scaevola Wed 22-Jan-14 08:49:34

She needs to practice the exact journey to school, first with you and then alone. She needs instructions on fall-back drills (such as what to do and who on the school to ring if the bus doesn't turn up and she'll be late).

If she cannot walk the familiar school journey alone, you need to find somewhere where she can practice a journey (any journey) alone - drop her in one part of town when her destination is a short walk away perhaps? Then the feeling of responsibility of being alone doesn't hit for the first time just as school is presenting new responsibilities too. And any journey you can walk with her, walk it. More hours as a pedestrian engrains road safety more than any amount to talking about it.

If you can, go past the new school at chucking out time (ideally with her, if it can be managed) so you/she can see pupils in the uniform and what sorts of bags and coats are really in use.

SonorousBip Wed 22-Jan-14 08:39:27

My ds made this change last September. I do agree that the schools are good at dealing with a fledgling Y7 population.

Of the practical points, I definitely agree about letting them have a bit of time in town/on safe holiday sites/in large shops on their own and then arranging a meet up time. We are absolutely hardcore about adherence to meet up times, BTW.

We also decluttered his room, lost some of the "small boy" stuff and set up a new desk and working system over the summer holiday (IKEA!) I think that really helped him to "feel" organised and that it was a new start - a big pinboard, new duvet cover, a stripy rug, his own alarm clock, clearing out shelves in his wardrobe for new uniform etc (yes! I found some baby muslins in his wardrobe plus the remnants of any number of sodding world book day outfits!), while making sure the pinboard also had lots of photos of his Y6 mates, and still room for doggy on his bed and some of his nicer lego pieces. It really wasn't an expensive exercise (rug was £15 etc) but it set the mood nicely.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 22-Jan-14 08:28:18

What the others have said - do a dummy run or two on the bus, make sure she knows where to cross the road safely at either end. Also make sure she has a safe, defined place for her bus pass and phone, and some emergency money stashed safely in her schoolbag.

Morgause Wed 22-Jan-14 08:19:49

I was a pfb making that transition.

Had to get 2 buses from our village to the grammar school and walk across town. We did a few dummy runs in the summer holidays and I was fine. No mobile phones back then.

I was allowed into town with friends from the age of 10 which taught me some independence. By the time I started school I was fine.

invicta Wed 22-Jan-14 08:19:12

Travel on the bus a few times so she gets used to this, including trips to and from the school. Let her be responsible for buying the ticket.

Buy a phone so she gets used to using it. We let our dc ( now in year 7) use it at weekends. He would go off to Game etc in town, and then we would phone when we were ready to meet up.

I have my dcs more freedom in the kitchen. Eg. Cooking scrambled eggs, getting hot things out of the oven. Etc. It's very easy for parents to get in the habit of doing this. I wanted them to be confident in handling hot saucepans etc in food tech etc.

Be aware that year 6 is a funny year. Being the eldest in the school gives them confidence and assurance, and they can seem quite grown up. However, it's a year when they realise that big changes are looming, and they may be separated from their friends who they have known virtually all their lives (in my younger dcs class of 30 children, they went to 8'different schools!), and this can lead to insecurities and fear. It's an exciting and scary year.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 22-Jan-14 08:13:32

Every time they do a piece of homework on the computer, they should get in the habit of saving it in a logical place and backing up regularly. Also including name, form, date on each document.

Sparklymommy Wed 22-Jan-14 08:13:02

I am in a similar dilemma with my rather naive yr 6 dd.

She currently goes to a village school. Daddy drives her. We live four miles away. None of her friends are going to the same secondary as her, although she does vaguely know some older children there. She does occasionally walk into town to buy bread/milk etc for me and has done for about 18 months, but she isn't keen on doing this on her own unless there is money for sweets. I used to try and get her to walk herself to the dance school (literally just round the corner, a ten minute walk). But after there were a few attempted child snatches in the area she refused to walk herself!

That was several months ago though, so I'm hoping she'll be able to start again in the summer.

She does have a phone. Not that she uses it.

I agree with the idea of dropping her in town and arranging to meet up at a set time. Mmught try that with my girl too!

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 22-Jan-14 08:09:11

Organisational skills.
Improve typing speed.
Practise carrying a heavy bag around all day. smile

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 08:07:28

have this book on standby

Nothing more bitchier than a group of Year 7 girls ime.

Dd is now in year 8 and fingers crossed its getting a bit better.

But she'll be fine. They all seem to take it in their stride and get on with it. She'll feel so grown up and rise to that feeling I'm sure.

Just encourage her to be organised, checking homework planner, etc so everything s done and that she has all books, PE kit, etc that she needs ready for the next day.

The schools are good about looki g after their Year 7s.

Bonsoir Wed 22-Jan-14 08:04:17

How about a residential holiday away from you somewhere where she will have more opportunities for independence but in a safe and relatively sheltered environment?

titchy Wed 22-Jan-14 08:00:43

Leave her on her own at home for short periods, make sure she knows what to do in an emergency. Take her and a friend into town. Arrange to meet them an hour later somewhere - go for coffee! She should be able to go into a shop herself - get her to start popping in the local shop for -sweets by herself and get her used to dealing with money.

ArthursaidMartha Wed 22-Jan-14 07:40:10

Thanks Rosencrantz. Think dd is more ready than I am wink

Rosencrantz Wed 22-Jan-14 03:25:34

There's not much else you can do.

It is a big change, but children are very adaptable and your DD sounds like she will cope just fine.

ArthursaidMartha Wed 22-Jan-14 03:22:11

Ok, so it is a bit early but a piece of advice I was given today was to try and start fostering a bit of independence in the next few months to lessen the shock in September. Dd is summer born and very naive. At the moment she goes to a small village primary school and most of the children she is in a class with she has known since she was 3 yrs old! No-one from her primary school is going to the same secondary.

We live in the countryside on a busy(ish) lane with no pavements so neither dc walks anywhere by themselves - nearest shop is a couple of miles away. I think first big lesson for dd is going to be road safety.

Do any of you let your year 6 children go off in town independently? Dd doesn't have a phone and I wouldn't trust her to go off into shops by herself or even with a friend but in September she is going to be travelling on a bus to a school 30 mins away on her own. She's going to have to be responsible for getting herself to the right place at the right time (although we will drop her at the bus in the morning).

We will get her a phone in the summer before secondary so she gets used to using it etc.

So road safety and phone, what else can I do to help?

And yes, before anyone ask, she is indeed my pfb blush grin.

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