Back to articles Important Transitions for Kids

Categories: Parenting

There are many transitions in the life of a student. School has a number of important transitions: from learning how to count to doing advanced trigonometry; from learning how to print letters to writing essays; from preschool to high school.


The seasons are a benchmark against which school transitions occur. Semesters pattern around the fall/winter/spring seasons. As the seasons change, so does what occurs in school. Even if your child’s school isn’t on the semestered system, all schools eventually break for one season: summer.


The most significant transitions in a student’s life occur during the summer. It’s the downtime between transitioning from one grade to the next. It’s also a critical time in a student’s life that too often gets overlooked in the excitement of summer’s arrival.


As parents, we tend to focus on planning summer events: camps, cookouts, trips to the beach, enrolling the kids in soccer and swimming lessons. We tend to overlook the fact that summer represents a shift in a student’s life—they have left behind the comfort and familiarity of the last grade and will be moving onto the next one.


In order to be ready to meet the challenges of the next grade, students need to keep their skills honed over the summer — a fact that is too often neglected when dealing with the excitement and busy schedules.



Breaking the Back-to-School Pattern



The transition into the next grade is not always smooth—each grade brings new challenges, and often more homework. To deal with this, increased skills and competence are required. How will your child be prepared to handle the extra work and challenges when they’ve taken a complete and total break from learning over the summer?


Students who don’t take action during the summer repeat the same back-to-school pattern year after year:

·     A slow start up time in the new grade

·     Having to review materials from last year

·     Not being prepared to learn

·     Not being prepared for homework and assignments

·     Feeling overwhelmed


Being ready when school begins again is a great way to kick the school year off on a high note. This is especially important for the upper grades. As each grade passes into the next one, there are fewer opportunities to establish good learning habits, such as making the most out of the summer vacation.


Here are a few tips from the classroom that your child can continue to use throughout the summer:

·     Use an agenda. Most schools provide a planner of some sort. Keep using it throughout the summer to practice time management and organization. If no agenda is available, use a wall calendar.

·     Keep a schedule. Children thrive with routines. Stick to bedtimes,morning schedules, and dinner hours. Summer is a great time to introduce an alarm clock into your child’s morning routine.

·     Read. In school, children are exposed to lots of reading—in the halls, in the directions on a worksheet, and in books. Why not keep a scrapbook where you can leave daily notes and messages for your child?

·         Write. Using the same scrapbook, your child can leave messages for you as well. It’s a great place to practice penmanship—make neatness count!



Oxford Learning is Canada’s leading provider of supplemental education programs for children from age 3 through grade 12 with three locations in Durham.  Visit for more helpful tips for school success or to find a location near you where you can chat with an Oxford professional about your particular children and their summer transitions.