Transitioning from Elementary School to Middle School

Middle school is a much more complex environment than elementary school. The campus is often larger, there may be more students, and instead of one teacher and one classroom, your child will have a separate instructor, and classroom, for each subject or block of subjects (e.g., language arts/social studies or math/science).

Here are some strategies for helping your child make a smoother transition to middle school:
Explore the school's Web site with your child. Search for announcements, schedules, and events.

Accompany your child on campus tours and orientations offered to parents and incoming students. The better you understand the school layout and rules, the more you can help your child.

Get a map of the campus and take your child to explore. Pick a time after school in the spring or in the days just before school starts in the fall. Be sure to check in with the school office to get an OK for your explorations.

Include a couple of your child's friends on campus treks. They can boost each other's memory about where things are when school starts.

Take advantage of summer programs — academic or recreational — offered at the new school for incoming students. Your child will get the feel for the campus in a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Get a copy of your child's class schedule and mark the location of her locker and each classroom and bathroom on the school map. Tape both of these inside their binder. If your child has trouble reading maps, walk the route between classes with them — more than once, if necessary — and note landmarks that the student can use to navigate.

Find out the length of the passing period between classes. Time it out for your child.

Get a copy of the student handbook. Review rules and requirements — especially the school's code of conduct, which describes consequences for violations of the most important rules. Ask the school staff questions about anything that is unclear.