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New Term – Exciting, Challenging or Dread?

Although children move up into a ‘new year’ every autumn till their school career ends, there are two key points in this journey when the transition (due to fundamental changes such as new school colleagues, teachers and premises) is probably the hardest:

  • From pre-school / nursery to primary school
  • From primary to secondary school

The emotions that children experience as they go / return to school after the long summer breaks can range from excitement to dread as they embark on the new school year and the challenges this will bring.

  • Children who have continuity e.g. going from say year 8 to 9 usually are less affected by the transition into the new year as their school colleagues are going to be their friends who they spent the previous term with, will already know the teachers and also the school rules and regulations.
  • On the other hand the emotion experienced by children transitioning as articulated above, i.e. from pre-school or primary school to the next level up can be traumatic due to the new premises, probably a more stricter school code and many new faces, both children and teachers, that have to be worked out as they settle into the new environment. The only thing that binds this band of children together is the fact that most are likely to be new in their year group and pretty much most will be feeling the same!

Feeling emotional is not restricted to the child as many parents also have similar, if not deeper feelings, especially as the child moves from pre-school to their first ‘proper’ year at school. In this blogger’s family, earlier this month, a mother took her daughter to her first day at ‘proper’ school. The mother controlled her emotions as they walked there and despite her 4 year old daughter assuring her mother saying ‘don’t worry Mamma, I will be OK’ she cried all the way home after dropping her off – Why is this?

The biggest issue when children start out at a new school is probably the friendship one; what will the other children be like? I am new so will someone help me? Not knowing the teachers and if they will get on with them. The schools are generally well versed in sorting things out as they go through the same cycle annually.

In the UK, schools have many tools that they employ to settle the children, e.g. ice breakers, buddy systems, team spirit tasks. Before the children get to the school there can be home visits by the teachers as well as visits to the schools so that the children, parents and teachers all get to know each other and the environment. The tools help prepare the child for the next phase in their education life and eases worries.

Other ‘Western’ countries have similar practices. Regrettably, in many developing countries the situation is not the same. Many challenges are faced by the parents and children as lack of proper control and support for education from the authorities is either not in place or is ineffective.

In Pakistan, whilst the Government Departments are in place to oversee education for all children aged 5-16, in reality it is left to the parents to support and pursue this for their children. There is no real widespread state schooling system and most of the children are educated via private schools that crop up everywhere charging fees for their services. The child’s education is supplemented via private tuition; again for a fee. Rules and regulations are there but are not always adhered to and parents will move their children from one school to another for many reasons, e.g. on a whim as another school may be reputed to be ‘better’, due to a disagreement on the child’s achievements, etc.

Many families cannot afford the education costs and this is where charities such as READ Foundation come to the fore as they help and provide education for the less fortunate children in the Pakistan society. You can help by sponsoring a child for just £10 a month via this link http://www.readfoundation.org.uk/project/educate-child

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