Assistant Principal Report

A New Year, A New Grade or A New School


As parents we try to structure our child's life in such a way as to remove instability, provide predictable routines, and lessen emotionally difficult changes. However, no matter how hard we try, change does occur and sometimes it can cause anxiety. One of these changes that happens in every child's life is moving to a new grade level or even to a new school. 


At the moment the children, (and their parents), at Melton West are starting to think about the end of the year, the holidays and their new grade level or for our year six students their new school. 

But instead of the exuberance you expected, you find many days starting with tears, or maybe a tummy-ache. They are not faking. Anxiety affects the body, and can result in an actual upset stomach, especially in children. But don’t worry, it’s not unusual for kids to need a little extra help adjusting to the start of school. 


Kids need to feel connected to an adult they think will keep them safe. So when they aren't with their parents, they need to transfer their attachment focus to their teacher, or they're too anxious to settle down and learn. If you notice that your child doesn't feel good about school, contact the teacher immediately. Just explain that they don't seem to have settled in yet, and you hope that the teacher can make a special effort to reach out so they feel comfortable. Many teachers assign the child a special job, so they feel connected and have a role to play each day.


For many kids, the biggest challenge is saying goodbye to you. Develop a parting ritual, such as a hug and a saying: “I love you, you love me, have a great day and I’ll pick you up at 3!”  Some kids like a laminated picture of the family in their backpack. 


Most school anxiety is caused by worries that adults might find irrational, such as the fear that you’ll die or disappear while they're at school. Support your child to express any worries that are bothering them. Empathise: "You're worried that since your best friend moved away, you won't have anyone to sit with at lunch? That could feel really awkward, couldn't it?" Then, remember that fear is the worry that we won't be able to handle something. So instead of just reassuring your child, empower them by problem-solving. "Hmm...I wonder what you could do to solve that?"  Let them come up with solutions. Your goal in this discussion is to help them realize that they have the internal resources to cope with any situation they encounter. Be sure they finish the discussion with a positive image in their mind of them successfully coping with whatever they are worried about. 


Children are "programmed" to look to parents for reassurance about what's dangerous and what's not. So while you're empathising with your child's concerns, be sure that you're also expressing confidence that your child will be safe and happy at school. Explain that it is completely "normal" to be a bit anxious about a new situation, but they can trust that their teacher will take care of them. Point out that naturally people who love each other don’t like parting, but they will have fun, you’ll be absolutely fine, the school can always contact you, and your love is always with them even when you aren’t. 


More and more studies confirm what many parents have known for years, getting a good sleep is necessary to have healthy, well-adjusted kids. Getting enough sleep prior to a new school year is also important – starting your child's new school-year sleep routine several weeks before school starts will help ensure that the transition to school doesn't include transitioning to a new sleeping schedule at the same time. Also remember the importance of a healthy diet for children, especially when they're going to school. Healthy snacks and a healthy lunch should be the norm. It's also important that children eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Children who skip breakfast don't have the energy or ability to focus and often have a hard time paying attention in class.

There is nothing that will help your child more than you maintaining a positive attitude toward school. It's fine to discuss your child's fears and expectations, but reassure them they're going to have great year. 


Have a wonderful break with your family and friends. Best wishes for the festive season.


Kind regards


Jennifer O’Connor 

Assistant Principal








Melton West Primary School is a Child Safe School 

We hold the care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our school and base all our decisions on what’s best for the students. Please talk to a staff member if you have any concerns about a child’s safety at any time.