Each year hundreds of children leave their current school to move to a new, usually bigger, school. The transition from one school to another is an important milestone for children of all ages. Although change is a normal part of life and can provide opportunities for children and young people to develop their resilience, research shows that transition is a stressful time.

Whether a child or a young person is starting primary school, secondary school, further education, changing schools or leaving schools for university or work, this transition period needs to be carefully managed.

During the transition period, it is important that children and young people can talk about their concerns and are supported to cope with any readjustments or struggles they may encounter such as:

  • Struggles to make friends.
  • Does not feel that they belong.
  • Has ongoing difficulties coping with daily routines.
  • Challenging or disruptive behaviour.
  • Increased number of unauthorised school absences.
  • Lower than expected progress or disinterest in school.

There is a lot for students to process to be able to leave one school well and start the next with optimism and positivity. It is of great importance to accompany children of all ages throughout this process of transition and to support their families.

In the provided material, one can find reflective activities that give students the opportunity to celebrate the good things, the people, and the values of the school that they are leaving. They also acknowledge any regrets that they may have, especially around the things that they may feel they missed out on because of Covid-19, remote learning, working in bubbles and the anticipated educational visits being cancelled. They can also reflect on the excitement and anxiety of starting at a new and bigger school.

The following are the six reflective activities by the Diocese of Guilford, UK that can be done in any order.

Maps – An opportunity to reflect on how their school values have helped them to live together well in their current school and how they might help them as they start at their new school.

Wow – An opportunity to celebrate the things that the pupils have particularly enjoyed during their time at primary school.

Thank you – An opportunity to think about a person or the people that have helped them during their time at primary school and to say thank you to God for them.

Please – An opportunity to reflect on what is worrying the pupils and to place these worries into God’s hands.

These reflective activities are designed to help Year 6 children process their transition from Primary to Secondary school. The activities require limited resources – the kind of things that children will have on their desks.

These are the readings and other prayers that can be used during a Holy Mass celebrating the transition that year 6 students are going to do. Thanks to the Pastoral section of the Secretariat for Catholic Education for this resource.

reflection by Dr Andrew Baldacchino