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TutorTime School Guide: How To Support Transition Between School Years

As a parent, it is often challenging to predict what your child will be facing each school year and how you can best support these transitions. We have put together a guide that runs you through the major expectations of each year as well as some advice on how best to support your child. 

Kindergarten:

This is a big one. For many children, this is the first time they are expected to wear uniforms and listen to teachers. Many are experiencing a classroom setting for the first time and struggle with being away from their parents as well as having to adhere to structured eating times. 

This year your child will be learning high-frequency words, blends, and CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) and rhymes. They will also be learning to count to 20, comparing values, and grouping objects. 

TutorTime Tips: 

You can help support your child by reading to them as much as possible. Reading to your child every night not only makes them more familiar with new words, but it also teaches them empathy. Parents often stop reading to their children once the children learn to read by themselves. Research shows though, that children develop much better reading skills and habits if they are read to frequently. As a rule, you should always be reading books to your child that are a higher level than what they can read on their own. 

Year 1: 

By the time your child is in Year 1, they should be at reading level 7 or higher. They are expected to know high-frequency sight words as well as the purpose of texts. In Maths they will be focussing on addition and subtraction. They should be working towards skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. They should be able to count to 100 and be developing their understanding of place value, time, and direction. 

TutorTime Tips: 

While you continue to read harder texts to your child, it would be a great idea to ask them questions to check their understanding. Practicing counting with your child and using visual cues such as counters and other manipulatives will help as well. A good tip is to take your child out shopping with you and have them practice their maths by choosing the right number of apples or adding together some prices. 

Year 2: 

Year 2 involves more structured learning, comprehension, and times tables. Your child will be getting more familiar with phonics and building their fluency with high-frequency sight words. They should also know their 2, 5, and 10 times tables. They will be learning about weight and measurement in maths as well. 

TutorTime Tips: 

Ask your child to explain their thinking and give their opinion based on the books you read together. Practice their critical thinking and empathy when you watch movies or television as well. They should also be learning to be more descriptive so ask them for more details when they tell you about their maths lesson or what they did during playtime. 

Year 3: 

This year your child will be taking the NAPLAN for the first time. While schools usually try to make this as seamless and stress-less as possible, many children develop test-anxiety and feel a lot of pressure to excel. They are also learning how to build connections between texts and to edit their work. 

TutorTime Tips:

Be mindful of any pressure you may unintentionally put on your child in terms of their academic performance, especially in the weeks leading up to NAPLAN. Continue to revise spelling, vocabulary, and times tables at home. 

Year 4: 

Your child will be expected to develop maturity and independence with their school work this year. This is also the year they will earn their pen license and conduct their first independent research task. They will be learning to consider different perspectives in texts and they will be looking at ways to engage the audience in their writing. In Maths, they will be working with fractions and decimals and they will be expected to know times tables up to 12. 

TutorTime Tips:

Put up some colourful times tables charts around their rooms, in the bathrooms, and on the fridge. Like it or not, this is a memory game and the sooner your child has this down, the easier maths will be for them. Also, keep reading to and with your child. By now they should be reading thicker chapter books. The rule here is that if a book is at the right level for your child, there should be about five words per page that they are unfamiliar with. This ensures a good amount of challenge for your young reader. Read a wide range of different books, fiction, non-fiction, different genres, etc. This will help broaden their vocabulary and instil a love of reading as well. 

Year 5: 

This will be your child’s second NAPLAN experience. By this stage, schools often put a little bit more pressure as well because your child is starting to transition towards high school and needs to learn to cope in test conditions. There is even more independence expected of your child this year as well. In English they will be learning to decode unfamiliar words using context clues, they will also be learning to present their work verbally. In Maths they are learning about rounding numbers, they learn about factors and multiples as well as learning about area, volume, and capacity. 

TutorTime Tips:

You can reinforce their independent learning at home by giving them more jobs to do around the house such as dishes and laundry. You can also encourage them to do their homework more independently as well. It’s also a good idea to attend workshops and seminars about NAPLAN whenever possible or talk to your child’s teacher about the best ways to prepare your child for this. Check in with your child about any anxiety they may have towards the tests and work with them to manage this. 

Year 6:

Congratulations! Your child is in his or her final year of primary school. This is a great year, filled with celebrations and memories. It is also filled with leadership opportunities. In English, they are learning to analyse texts and explain their responses to them. They are also learning to support a point of view. In Maths they are learning to use algebra and complex geometry. They are also managing a range of social-emotional and physical changes as they move into adolescence. 

TutorTime Tips:

Encourage their independence as much as possible. Give them more responsibilities at home and encourage them to take ownership of their learning and their schedules. Helping them to organise themselves will be vital for high school. Check in with their well being as well. Social pressures start to become an issue once they hit adolescence. 

Year 7: 

Welcome to Senior School! From now on, your teen is expected to manage their workload and their schedules completely independently at school. They are expected to keep track of assessments and responsibilities quite quickly and they also have a lot more freedom as they move from one class to the next. They will be taking on more subjects and homework as well as exams. This is also a NAPLAN year. Phew! In English, they will be learning to write essays 

TutorTime Tips:

Support and encourage your child to independently organise themselves for each day. Regularly check in on their well-being. This is a big transition and they are likely feeling overwhelmed. Often they just need to feel heard and understood. Encourage your child to continue or begin pursuing hobbies or interests over weekends or after school to give them an outlet as well. 

Year 8:

As your young adult has now settled into Senior School, this year is an opportunity to take a breath and consolidate learning thus far. This year your child will be introduced to more classic texts such as Shakespeare. This can be overwhelming and confusing for many students because of the language and structure. In Maths this year they will be building complexity on concepts studied in Year 7 such as equations and statistics so reviewing Year 7 work will help them succeed. 

TutorTime Tips:

Encourage your child to start writing notes early. Getting into the habit of writing notes for each subject once a week will give them a great summary of each unit by the time they reach exam time. They will be truly grateful for these good study habits when they get to Year 11 and 12. Have a binder with tabs for each of their subjects. Getting them to handwrite will also ensure their penmanship is clear and legible for written exams. Your child will also have to make some choices towards the end of this year about elective subjects they will want to study in Year 9 and Year 10. Support them by considering future career options as well as workload. 

Year 9:

This year, more than half of your teen’s timetable will be made up of classes they have chosen. Aside from the core subjects (English, Maths & Science) they have a lot more ownership and choice from now on. This can be very exciting but also overwhelming for some teens. This is also the final NAPLAN year. Your child should now be quite familiar with the NAPLAN structure and procedure but may still be quite stressed about it. In English, they will continue their study of Shakespeare. They will also study film and visual literacy. In Maths they are building proficiency with data, trigonometry, and statistics. 

TutorTime Tips:

Encourage your teen to use NAPLAN as a practice for the exams to come. Remind them to continue writing notes frequently throughout the term instead of rushing to get notes written just before an exam. Check in with your child about their subject choices and future plans to ensure they are getting the right foundation. It is ok to change their minds, that is part of the process. 

Year 10:

This year, your child will be choosing the subjects they want to study in Year 11 and 12. Their subjects will continue to increase in difficulty and expectation. By this age many schools expect students to be completing a few hours of independent study each night, on top of any homework. Across subjects this year, they will be learning more technical aspects and be expected to think critically. This year also marks the beginning of social events such as formals and socials which brings about social pressures.

TutorTime Tips:

Have frequent discussions about career paths and tertiary study options with your child this year. Talk about subjects they have enjoyed most and have been most passionate about. Also have conversations about the impact their choices may have on their social-emotional well-being as well as their studies. It may be worth attending some university open days this year as well. 

Year 11:

This year all of your young adult’s subjects will be one that they chose. Whether your child is working towards the HSC or the IB, they are expected to be well and truly independent from now on. There are only three terms for Year 11 students but they are packed with lots of content and curriculum outcomes. In English, your child will be writing essays, creative tasks as well as oral tasks. In Maths they will focus on higher levels and application of calculus, financial maths, and more. 

TutorTime Tips:

Encourage your child to plan out their terms early on so they are aware of upcoming assessments and exams. This will help them manage their time more effectively. Look over the curriculum requirements for each subject with your child and encourage them to tick off outcomes as they study them and write notes for them. Consider tutoring for subjects that your child is struggling with if you haven’t already. 

Year 12:

Congratulations on making it this far with your child. This is as much your accomplishment as it is theirs. Despite the pressures of exams and tertiary applications, most students find Year 12 to be the most rewarding and exciting year of their school life. They develop amazing relationships with their teachers and peers this year and create memories that last a lifetime. It is of course also a highly stressful year and they should be focussing on creating succinct notes and applying for tertiary study.

TutorTime Tips:

Start the year looking at your child’s subjects and reviewing them as you get closer to the HSC/IB. This is the time to consider dropping units that no longer work for your child and picking up extension units that will work well for your child. Regularly check in with your child about how they are coping with the pressures of the year. Often they will appreciate just having you there to listen to them. Encourage them to continue hobbies, socialisation, and other non-academic activities to create a balance. Your child is embarking on adulthood now. 

If you are ever in doubt or think your child may need a little extra help, get in touch with the experts and TutorTime. 

Have questions or need help?

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