Supporting a Smooth Start
A new school year brings with it much excitement, but also trepidation for some students.
Those starting school or at a new campus can feel overwhelmed as they embark on a new education journey. But the nerves can be calmed by preparation, support and great programs.
Top schools like Haileybury have facilities, support systems and education programs designed to ensure that students start the year seamlessly.
Children who join us in an Early Learning Centre become familiar with the school structure from a young age.
They also understand the School’s culture and expectations, which helps them to adjust as they move through to Junior, Middle, Pre-Senior and Senior School.
Welcoming New Students
Many students complete their education journey at Haileybury. They are welcome to apply for enrolment at any year level, however, the largest intake of new students is at Year 7.
Regardless of when a student joins us, structures are in place to help them feel welcome and supported.
A transition program helps students to familiarise themselves with the new school routine, and teachers are on hand to guide them every step of the way.
Head of Newlands campus Ms Jane Gibbs says the main concern for all students, new or otherwise, relates to making friends and establishing connections.
“Teachers are readily available and parent–teacher evenings, informal gatherings and Haileybury Parents & Friends group involvement provide good opportunities to connect with the School,” she says.
Entering the Middle Years
As Haileybury students move from Year 4 to 5 they transition from a co-educational set-up to the Parallel Education Model, where boys and girls are taught in separate classes.
Parallel education involves single-gender classes in separate boys’ and girls’ schools on a shared campus, with the ability to mix at lunchtimes and in activities such as musicals, productions and assemblies.
This is very different to the early years and offers students ‘the best of both worlds’. They can focus on academic studies without distraction, while mirroring the real world socially.
The Middle School Program offers a range of experiences. These include selecting electives, the ‘Curious Minds’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and LEAP (Literature, Enterprise, Arts and Politics) programs and learning about enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Ms Gibbs says as students develop independence, they require less parental involvement. However, they may still need help adjusting at school, which staff can provide.
“Classes in Middle School are structured more like a secondary school so uncertainty about managing timetables, new subjects, new teachers and homework can arise,” she says.
“Our teachers guide the students through this phase with lots of support and a buddy system to provide connections with older, more experienced students.”
Moving into the Senior Years
To prepare for Year 9, students visit the Pre-Senior Centre to become familiar with the School’s layout. The Heads of Pre-Senior address them and explain changes they can expect.
Ms Gibbs says the Heads also attend Year 8 Graduation, welcoming students to Year 9, and an information evening allows parents to ask any questions they might have.
“A thorough handover is conducted between staff and the Pastoral Care Team, including psychologists and individual needs staff, to keep things consistent,” she says.
Haileybury’s early-commencement program gives all students a head start on the new school year. This sees them start Term 1A for the following school year in the previous November.
Ms Gibbs says Term 1A helps to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.
“Students have several weeks in Year 9 as they commence the program,” she says of Pre-Senior students. “By the time they return to school in the new year, they are already settled in. This process is also open to any new students joining the School.”
How Can Parents and Carers Help?
You may be thinking: “How can I help my child to start the new year well?”
There are a range of things that parents and carers can do. Try to:
- Communicate and stay engaged with the School.
- Have a dedicated home study area to complete homework with minimal distraction.
- Stay up to date with School newsletters, notices and happenings.
- Attend information sessions and social events, which will help in feeling connected.
- If your child is anxious about School camps, offer them some experience to prepare them in advance.
Communication and connections are key in all of this. If you can establish both, you and your child will almost certainly enjoy your school experience.