Planning Mid-Year School Transition For Your Child? Factors to Consider

Rekha Varghese
Nov 12, 2021
Mid-year school transition

Mid-year school transitions are often difficult for children. Children coming to a new school feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety for the new life ahead of them.

There are many reasons children make the transition to a new school in the middle of the year. For some students, this happens when their families relocate to Singapore. Going to a new school can be stressful for children and their parents. Parents often worry about their children fitting in with their new peer groups, catching up on studies and feeling comfortable in a new cultural set-up. Likewise, children going to a new school often worry about making friends and fitting in.

Children going through this kind of transition often have a lot of feelings to sort through about their new country, their new home and their new community. Choosing the right school for your child’s mid-year transition can make all the difference.

In Singapore, some also make the transition to a new school in the middle of the year when they're seeking to change from one type of school to another. International and MOE (Ministry of Education or local Singapore) schools often have different term dates, so sometimes children making the leap from one school to another will arrive at their new school in the middle of the year.

In this article, we'll talk about factors to consider when you're trying to choose a new school for your child. With this information, you can make the mid-year transition more manageable and successful.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a School

Some schools are set up for children to make an easy transition. Here's what to consider when trying to select the school that's right for your child.

Flexible Admissions Process

The international schools in Singapore have their own academic calendar. While some schools follow the Northern Hemisphere academic calendar from August-July, some schools follow the Southern Hemisphere January-December calendar and others, like GIIS, follow the April-May academic calendar year. There are schools that provide a full range of admissions services no matter what time of year it is. 

At GIIS, our admissions process is available year round, and our incoming families enjoy all the services we have to offer no matter what time of year it is. This means that students and parents have access to our school admissions counsellors and faculty support network throughout the school year. 

Peer-Support System

Peers play a significant role in student transitions from one school to another. At GIIS, we've harnessed that peer support by creating a buddy system. Students who join primary school mid-year are assigned a buddy in their own class. The buddy system helps new students adjust as the buddies introduce them to someone who can answer their questions, introducing them to other students and showing them around the school.

Adults can be helpful to new students, but nothing is more meaningful to a child than a buddy of their own age who can show them what it really means to be a student at GIIS. Buddies introduce students to friends, help students become acquainted with their peers, show students the canteen, classrooms, sports and activity areas, washrooms and more.

Teacher Assistance

Supportive and experienced teachers make the transition smooth for new students. Teachers who have worked with students going through a transition before will know what troubles and challenges students face when entering a new school and help ease those challenges.

At GIIS, our teachers help new students in different ways. They provide academic support to help new students through lessons so as to make the adjustment to life at school easier. They also help to create an environment that encourages students to be happy, promoting overall wellness. We even have a happiness index to measure student happiness! 

Finally, teachers also make sunshine calls to parents in the first week after their child joins the school. Sunshine calls help the teacher understand whether the student is feeling comfortable in their new environment. Sunshine calls help teachers know when a student is facing challenges, so the teacher can help when and where needed.

Additional support for Grade 1 joiners

A limited number of schools in Singapore provide extra support to mid-year Grade 1 joiners where they are guided to hone the necessary skills to move to Grade 2 with their peers.

Using differentiated instructional strategies, our teachers at GIIS help transition students who join mid-year to catch up with their peers and be ready to learn alongside their peers in the following school year. 

Additional support is provided to students who join Grade 1 as late as January, by helping them master key skills that will help them transition smoothly to Grade 2 in the academic session that starts in April.

Language Support Programme

Coming to a new school is difficult when the language spoken at school is not the language you're most familiar with. No one should have to fall behind at school because they're not being given an opportunity to understand the lessons.

GIIS’ English Language Support Programme (ELSP) for primary students is highly successful in helping students make the transition to learning in English. It is provided for students whose native language is not English. In ELSP, students who need language help are given extra classes that allow them to catch up on English grammar and communication. With 3 to 4 lessons per week (or as required)  plus extra reading materials to study, students become much more comfortable speaking and learning  English than before the classes. 

A Smooth Mid-Year Transition at GIIS

Going to school should be a happy experience. So when you're planning to move your child to a new school mid-year, make sure that the school you select has support for your child. With academic, language and peer support programmes in place, your child will have the best chance for success.

GIIS has created a positive learning environment and several measures to make the transition mid-year smooth for your child. It helps lay the foundation for academic and overall development. 

To find out more about GIIS, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly admissions counsellors.

Rekha Varghese

Ms. Rekha Varghese is the Vice-Principal of GIIS SMART Campus, Singapore. She has over 25 years of experience as an educator and expertise in Early Childhood education. She is a member of the Academic and Examination Board of GIIS and has been deeply involved with the development of academic processes and practices of the school. She believes that milestones achieved in social and emotional growth at this key stage pave a way for confident individuals of the future. As a pedagogical leader, she has been mentoring educators who are keen to work with this age group. Her understanding of educational philosophies, including the CBSE, IB PYP and other child-centred pedagogies, have helped her in this endeavour.

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