Learning 14 Aug 2020

7 Top Tips for settling into your new school

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Starting a new school is a big event for the whole family and your child is bound to feel anxious, especially if they’ve only just arrived in Singapore. Our Tanjong Katong principal, Angela Henderson, provides some tips on how to help smooth the transition for both you and your child.

Monitor emotions
It's natural for your child to feel anxious or sad about the things they’ve left behind, such as their home country, their friends and pets. Let them know that this is completely normal – mum and dad are feeling the same way, too! At the same time, remind them this is an exciting opportunity to make new friends, new memories and explore a whole new city.

Maintain family routines
To add some predictability in the midst of the transition, stick to your usual family routines. Spend regular quality time together and try not to introduce too many new events or activities at the start. Right now, your child needs stability and love. Plus, no toys or gadgets are as valuable as family time!

Set realistic expectations
With a new school comes new class rules and routines. It’s easy for your child to feel overwhelmed. Sidestep this by setting times for them to vent, share, celebrate and inquire. We think family meals and bedtime chats are great opportunities for this.

Encourage your child to make new friends
If your child is feeling anxious about starting a new school, it would be tempting for them to rush into finding a new best friend and sticking to that one person for comfort. Encourage them to take their time to interact with as many of their classmates as possible – there are many new friends to be made!

Familiarise yourself with the school
From joining the PTA to volunteering at school events, it’s always helpful for parents to be involved. CIS organises an orientation day for new students in the days before the term starts. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your child to become acquainted with the people in the school’s community.

Help your child feel like they belong
Your child might be feeling like things are beyond their control, causing them to feel confused. Encourage them to get involved in the school community – such as through co-curricular activities – to help them plant roots in their new environment and build their social network.

Support is available in numerous ways
We provide our new students with a variety of options that will see them transition smoothly into school life. Each new student is paired with a buddy to help them navigate the school (and find where the play areas are!), as well as keep them company during recess and lunch. Expect calls from your child’s homeroom (or advisor) teacher, who will update you on how your child is settling in. Counsellors and teachers are also tasked with monitoring the children, so please reach out to them for support at any point through the school year.