Helping children make successful transition to junior high


Nina Chen, Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension

Moving on to junior high school can be exciting but nerve-racking for most children. Although most young teens are looking forward to entering junior high, making the transition from elementary school to junior high is a big step for them.

They may have been comfortable in their elementary school setting where they were the older kids; whereas, in junior high they may be in a new place and they are now the youngest in school. They may have different teachers and peers in an unfamiliar classroom. They will experience more interaction with more students because junior high schools are usually bigger than elementary schools. Because class sizes tend to be bigger, teachers may not be able to pay a lot of attention to just one student; hence, your child may feel less valued than before. Also, your child may be hesitant to attend extracurricular activities because of the uncertainty of new settings or demands.

In addition, your child needs to think about the expectations that come with being in a new school and a higher grade. Teachers may require and expect your child to finish more work and follow assignments with less supervision than in an elementary school.

For more information about the challenges adolescents go through during this transition, as well as suggestions for helping them, check out the full version of this article at


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