Your Almost 6th Grader

preparing for the the transition from 5th grade

Transition Means Change

There are a few transitions during a students life that not only reflects drastic changes that are happening academically, but also emotionally, socially, cognitively, and physically. One of these takes place as student transfer from 5th grade into Middle School. Often these changes begin to take place far before the actual year is over. As a parent, you may begin to worry as you start to see these changes take place. No need to panic as it is quite normal what your child is going through - in fact, there may be a time where your student is a bundle of contradictions, swaying back and forth between who they used to be and who they are becoming.

Physical Changes

For young adolescents, this is the time in which the brain goes through the biggest development stage, next to their growth from birth to 3 years old. It is also when hormones set in and puberty takes place.


With the rapid changes taking place in thier bodies, students often experience "awkwardness" regarding thier bodies, can find themselves fatigued, and are also restless.


Nutrition is especially important during this time to feed thier growing minds and bodies (literally!)

Cognitive Changes

Your student's brain is changing from concrete (black and white) thinking to abstract thinking. In addition, they are in the beginnings of becoming more self-reflective and have the ability to think about thinking. They are also developing skills in deductive reasoning, problem solving, thinking critically, planning, and controlling impulses.


Typically, your student thrives in an active learning environment, being the most successful at learning information that is rich and engaging. With that being said, as they can only retain about 5 to 7 bits of information - these students benefit from being taught how to organize as they, developmentally, don't have the ability to just do it on thier own.

Emotional and Social Changes

These changes are probably the most noticable of your burgeoning Middle School student and will have a great impact on thier success at school.

The changes that you can expect to see include:


  • Mood Swings, with peaks of intensity and unpredicability
  • A need to release energy, often resulting in sudden, apparently meaningless outburst of activity.
  • Tend to be self-conscious, lacking in self-esteem, and highly sensitve to personal criticism.
  • May exhibit immature behavior because their social skills frequently lag behind their mental and physical maturity.
  • Seeking to become independent and forming an adult identity
  • Behave in ways that are associated with their sex, as sex role identity increases.
  • Very concerned about peer acceptance and have a strong need to belong to a group.
  • Believe that their personal problems, feelings, and experiences are unique to themselves.
  • Are psychologically vulnerable because at no other stage in development are they more likely to encounter so many differences between themselves and others.

How you can prepare as a parent

With all of the above, it's no wonder that both parents and students are left overwhelemed with the transtition from 5th grade to 6th grade. Despite the many changes that are taking place, there are a variety of things that you, the parent, can do to help empower your student at home and prepare them for Middle School.


  1. Understand that Middle School is NOT Elementary School
  2. Expect changes in your child and be sensitive to them
  3. Supervise the completion of all homework
  4. Create a routine at home and stick to it
  5. Allow your child to take charge of their own learning
  6. Encourage them to speak up when they need help and hold them accountable.
  7. Encourage the development of multiple sources of self-esteem
  8. Teach study skills
  9. Speak postively about school. Your attitude often determines thier attitude.
  10. Stay involved. The security in parental involvement ensures the growth of independence in your child.

Have More Questions?

Please feel free to contact the School Counselor to talk more thoroughly about your student's needs and how to prepare them for a successful middle school transition. Collaboration is key in order to ensure the smoothest of transitions.


Mrs. Panariso will also be heading into the classroom at the end of the year to faciliate a classroom lesson for our 5th graders to ease their fears about Middle School.