There's something special about the last few weeks of the academic year as children's time in a year group comes to an end and the next chapter of their learning journey at Tanglin begins. Term 3 is an exciting one with various activities and events yet can be potentially daunting as children begin to take their next step towards greater independence in their learning.
At Tanglin, we do not underestimate the significance of this changeover, so a big focus in Term 3 is around ensuring a smooth transition. We have well established transition programmes in place to help each child to adjust and settle quickly, build new friendships and progress in their learning.
Moving up a School
At Tanglin, Year 2 Infant students move to the Junior School, and Year 6 students graduate to the Senior School. Here are a few things that Tanglin does to make these milestone transitions as smooth a change for students and parents as possible.
Meeting the Heads and Assistant Heads of Year
As we all know, it often helps to put a face to a name. As such, Year 2 children are visited by Year 3's Head of Year (HOY) and Assistant Head of Year (AHOY), and in the Junior School, the Year 7 HOY or one of the AHOY joins the Year 6's on their residential trip and both do class visits.
In Year 7, one of the AHOY's jobs is specifically responsible for transition and settling children into the Senior School.
These are great opportunities for the students to get to know their new year group heads, and vice versa.
Attending a Transition Assembly
Some students worry about extra homework and getting lost in the maze of corridors of their new school buildings. Transition assemblies' bust a few of these myths to ensure every student understands the support they will receive and that their concerns are taken seriously.
The assembly also fires up the excitement as students hear about what they can look forward to in the curriculum, trips, sporting events, inspirational visits, as well as key differences, for example, going home arrangements, lunches, uniform and Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs).
At the end of Year 2 and Year 6 classes are mixed to enable children to develop new friendships more easily, as well as maintain existing friendships. This involves detailed discussions between staff, considering learning styles, interests, siblings, gender and pastoral matters. Staff also aim to create a fair balance of academic ability, social and learning needs within new classes as well as friendships and group dynamics.
Children spend time and work in these new class formats for part of Term 3.
Experiencing Lessons in the New School
From Junior children using Bunsen burners in the Senior School science labs, taster sessions in French and Spanish, art, mathematics and English, to Infant children exploring Junior library and technology, these sessions are a great taste of what awaits and help to allay any concerns.
Orientation and Team Building Activities
In addition to getting to know one another, orientation and team building activities help our students to familiarise themselves with the layout of their new school.
Towards the end of Term 3, Year 2 students explore the Junior School facilities, including a fun scavenger hunt and having a much-anticipated lunch in the Junior canteen as well as visiting some of the specialist learning spaces. "It was nice to try the food and to see the Junior School canteen. We sat and chatted with our Year 3 buddies." Year 2 student.
Year 6 students attend a Senior School orientation day. Here, they receive an overview of the school, spend the day with their new tutor and form group and attend a mixture of lessons, as well as buying their own lunch in the Senior canteen. One Year 7 student said: "The orientation day was very helpful as I was a bit nervous. I have really enjoyed this process." Once in Year 7, students enjoy a team building day, taking part in character strengths activities.
First Day of School
On the first day of school, all students are reminded of essential information including, timetables and timings of the school day.
Junior children are expected to pack their own bags, write their diary for the week ahead and take care of their own belongings. Senior students buy a padlock for their lockers and receive their lunch card.
Communication with Parents
At Tanglin, we encourage open communication lines between the school and parents, ensuring the wellbeing of students.
In Term 3, parents are invited to 'Meet the Head of Junior/Senior School' coffee mornings which aim to provide a general introduction to the school, key events that can be experienced by the children as they move through school as well as sharing the school ethos. More details about getting started in Year 3 and Year 7 are covered in separate meetings.
During the school year, there are regular workshops for parents to support their child's learning journey and open sessions for children to share their learning informally in the Junior School.
In addition, Junior and Senior School parents are invited to a parent information evening early in the first term. Senior School parents also meet their child's tutor. This is a valuable opportunity to address any concerns as well as to highlight what is going well and how their child has settled into school.
Moving up a Year Group
Along with supporting students moving from one school to another within Tanglin, we also support students moving up a year group. This is especially so in the Infant School when children move from Nursery to Reception, and Reception to Year 1, and also at the end of Year 11 when students move to the Sixth Form.
At Nursery, Reception teachers meet all parents for individual orientation and share the next stages of the curriculum.
For Reception children moving to Year 1, the focus is on friendships, change and preparing for new and exciting adventures through accessing the larger play areas, hearing from Year 1 Student Council members as to what's best in Year 1, having opportunities to discuss change, and sharing story and circle time with their new teacher and classmates.
In Year 11, students attend an Introduction to Sixth Form Day, where they meet their new tutor and form group, are given an overview of the pastoral and academic support available, and hear about the expectations at Sixth Form, including being a self-starter and responsible for their own learning. During the first week of Year 12, students have two pastoral days and enjoy form group activities, including completing the amazing race. Mr Goodliffe, Assistant Headteacher says: "Cherish your time, make new friendships and enjoy new freedoms. It will go in the blink of an eye."
All our transition programmes aim to ensure all upcoming students feel confident to embrace new opportunities and to step up to new challenges, while feeling known, cared for and happy in their new environment.