It can be a HUGE life change – you move from being the oldest in your school to the youngest, from a village primary school of 50 pupils, to a town based comprehensive of 700. The teachers are different, the environment is different, the work load is different and the expectations are different.
Leaving year 6 and heading into year 7 is a huge deal.
So how can we help young people navigate this well?
The best resource we’ve found is – It’s your Move from Scripture Union
• Give it as a gift to every year 6 in your church or local primary school
• Make a presentation of it to each year 6 in your church and invite them up to be prayed for on a Sunday morning
• Look at the resource together in your group to make space for talking about how they’re feeling about the transition
• Hold a ‘graduation’ social for the year 6s and even their families, to help them makr this key rite of passage. And why not invite the current year 7s along, so they can get to know one another a bit?
Other key practical things to consider:
Other key transitions – Often we match the transition to secondary school in our church groups, switching young people between groups at the same stage. This can work well – acknowledging their new ‘grown up’ status. But it can also mean another huge change of peer group and leaders at a time when everything else has already changed. So why not consider doing the transition sooner? Maybe helping the young people change groups at Easter in year 6, or the summer half term? Or even structuring your group so the transition falls at the start of year 6, rather than the start of year 7?
Parents – it’s a big change for parents too – how are young going to support them? And al of a sudden, parents are dealing with a child who returns from their new school day absolutely exhausted with a huge pile of home work. It might be that your new midweek youth group suddenly seems like a less vital part of life. You might (possibly quite rightly) think that this youth group is important for these young people’s well being and spirituality – but you might need to be supporting parents as they try to prioritise the new patterns and pressures of life and recognising they’re figuring out what’s best for their children in this new stage of life.