YEAR 6 ‘The Final Year of Primary School’
Excellent advice from Cathy Salvi, our resident counsellor, on underestimating the pressures of this year group.
Sometimes parents and professionals seem to forget the importance of this year group and the pressures that young people endure currently. So sit with your Mum or Dad or your carer/guardian and read through this item together, then chat over the points raised and make sure you feel completely comfortable with the new year ahead…(this article is written for your parents to read).
Remembering that every family has their individual dynamic e.g. an only child, older siblings, and more and more the impact of blended families.
Each dynamic brings a different understanding and a different approach in dealing with what I call the ‘Year 6 Transition”.
As parents and carers, we have our own agenda like getting the practical stuff done, buying schools shoes: socks, tights, uniform fittings, ensuring the school bag is big enough and kitted out with pens, highlighters, notebooks etc… not an easy task as trends change from Hello Kitty to Rainbow pencils, the list can be endless. Boring for you maybe, but not to your child who is stepping into the most important year of their life.
Year 6 the top of the school, how long have they waited for this moment. Respect, from the junior years, respect from the teachers, important roles to fulfil, speaking at assemblies, school shows, perhaps representing their school at Open Days, wearing the school uniform with pride.
In other words, being Role Models to many and taking on huge responsibilities – not to mention high expectations from parents and grandparents.
This can have a massive impact on your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
How you manage this tricky time can be straight forward, by using the K.I.S
(Keep it simple) approach.
Reflect and try to visualise yourself at the of age 10/11.
Connecting to your inner child can be difficult so allow yourself time and space for this reflection.
Sit quietly away from distractions. Breathe deeply and start to reflect on the following.
Where were you living and with whom?
What did you look like e.g. hair style, the clothes you worn, what was your school uniform like?
Do you remember putting it on? What did you feel, excitement, anger, nervousness, anxiety, or pride?
What were your family dynamics e.g. were your parents divorcing, re-marrying, sibling rivalry(s), perhaps a bereavement, and so on…
Were you happy? If not, why.
Maybe you had to change schools due to family circumstances and you felt sad leaving friends and familiar faces.
What responsibilities did you have?
Maybe financially your parents/carers had limited resources, so new shoes, uniform and supplies were far from your reach.
Reflection can be difficult for some and the outcome hard to process but if you truly connected to your inner child of 10/11. You should have felt a range of emotions and visualised a small child going through a life transition.
Whatever the outcome of your reflections – write them down so when you look at your child making this incredible leap, remember. It is now their time to feel; excited, sad, pressured, pride and nervous etc. etc.
Guide them but be patient, try not to pressurise them too much, listen to them and allow them time to process and enjoy this incredible journey.
Spend some time talking to them now about how you felt at that age. It will be very beneficial to you both.
Surrey Learning and Counselling Centre