Supporting students as they move into High School

I was working with a group of Year six students who were about to go to high school. We were talking about what they were looking forward too and what they were feeling a bit nervous about.

We were discussing how life is full of moments that can challenge you, that everyone experiences this and at every opportunity you can make choices as to how you respond to this. I got the kids to share what qualities they hold strongly now that they would like to maintain, grow and still hold strongly as adults and any areas where they feel they would like to develop further.

It was an amazing discussion, each child shared the qualities they felt they had and wrote these on the whiteboard. They were then supported by their peers to go deeper with these, by the other kids in the group sharing what they see in the person and either adding to it or confirming what the person had said. It was beautiful to watch how they were with each other- very honest, understanding and loving and you could see the support this offered each child. Then then also looked at qualities/attributes that they would like to further develop or that they didn't feel fully confident with yet. Again it was inspiring and refreshing to see how honest they were about this, saying things like:

  • 'I'd like to be more honest, sometimes I don't say how I really feel and I just go along with things or give in to my friends, ', or

  • 'Sometimes I get angry and then just snap at people, I'd like to be a bit more understanding', and

  • 'Sometimes I'd like to stand up for myself more not change my opinion because of what others are doing'.

They all supported each other with this reflecting on how this can play out and were having a laugh about different experiences they'd had. As each child shared something that they would like to develop further, we got them to talk about people in the group who inspired them and who had developed these qualities and how they were inspired by them. It was very evident the depth of insight kids have when they are given the space to share.

At the end of the session they said, "we need to have more conversations about this because we never really get the chance to talk about life like this".

I was very inspired by how they were with each other. It is true too, rarely do we come together and celebrate and appreciate each other in this way, but when we do it makes a big difference and doing this as young people transition into high school supports them to build a more solid sense of knowing who they are and what they have to offer. I love the wisdom kids can show us in how we can work together and support each other without any judgement.

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