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Transitioning from Primary School

By Julia Rollings

Middle School and High School Bring Big Changes

The transition to upper levels of school are tough on any youngster, but for adopted children it can be very difficult. No longer is there one teacher who is (hopefully) familiar with the child's history and knows them personally.

The child has to cope with a lot of change: new school, new students, a whole range of unknown teachers, changing classrooms for each class, rather than having a classroom and desk of their own, and a whole load of novel demands such as managing a timetable and study program. Add to this the personal challenges occurring at this time in their lives, as they hit puberty and have to cope with a rapidly changing and unfamiliar body, and complicated new social expectations. Moving to middle or high school can be exciting but it is tough on adolescents.

High school is especially tough on parents. It can come as a real surprise how quickly a child seems to grow up after starting high school. Suddenly their child's social life seems centered around friends rather than family, and peers become a huge influence. It is hard not to feel that you've lost some of your influence as you see the first glimmer of adulthood behind your adolescent's eyes.

My first experience of cutting the apron strings came with seeing my youngsters off on their first day of primary school, but the move to high school felt more like a gentle farewell to childhood. Goodbye hugs were given at home to avoid any embarrassment in front of friends, and there was no question of following them to the classroom to see how they'd cope!


The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox Building Connections, edited by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae Copyright 2006 EMK Press, all rights reserved. The complete 520 page book covering all aspects of becoming and being an adoptive family is available at Amazon.com.


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