The Importance of Successful Transition to High School

At the beginning of a school year, students, parents and educators alike, have a large focus on transition. We understand the importance of transition for two important reasons:

  1. A successful transition to high school instils self-confidence and develops social competence, which allows for new connections and friendships to be forged, and it enables new beginnings to be created, allowing for goals and plans to be made that direct a young person towards the person they wish to be.

  2. An unsuccessful transition can have the opposite effect. It can leave young people unsure of their place and can impact their self-efficacy, and their belief in their capacity to achieve their goals. It can lead to negative comparisons to peers and can see young people take a step backwards.

Tips to help your child prepare to transition to secondary school

It is fortunate that schools and educators are so proficient at creating great transition experiences and strategy. Whether these be try-for-a-day opportunities before enrolment, which allow students to be part of the process of change and see themselves in the environment whilst there are still choices in front of them, or orientation or discovery days where the key focus is on relationship building in a new environment.

Providing open communication and extra support during the transition from childhood to adolescence

During this move from primary to secondary school, there is a significant transition that takes place alongside the start of a new year level of schooling. It is a transition from childhood to adolescence. Outside of year level, school and peer transitions, there is a larger rite of passage taking place towards the end of their primary school years as children become adolescents. This time is often signalled through the media as a difficult and challenging time but what can we learn about the importance of marking this rite of passage for young people?

Diving into research conducted by Rites of Passage specialist, Dr Arne Rubinstein, he uncovers the missing link in modern societies, one with which indigenous communities around the world recognise as a critical process to support the coming of age for boys and girls.

Dr Arne spent 15 years working as a Doctor in emergency medicine, witnessing the first hand consequences of young adults being caught in a world between childhood & adolescence. This insight triggered years of research, uncovering the critical need to recognise rites of passage, ensuring children are prepared for the modern world.

The staircase of life

Dr Arne discusses the importance of the ‘Staircase of life’, and how as individuals we move from infants, to children, to adolescents, adults, parents and then grandparents. It is important that each of these moments are celebrated, creating excitement and joy in progressing forward. Dr Arne also notes that if there are negative connotations associated with progressing onto these stages, it can cause distress and reduce the likelihood of successfully progressing through the staircase of life.

Allowing children to progress through these stages also takes the support and encouragement from parents, Dr Arne encourages parents to celebrate these milestones with their children, while also gradually letting go and being available to them in a ‘mentor role’. Dr Arne discusses the importance of developing one-on-one time between children and their parents, helping to build those relationships that will be there to support them on their journey.

It is one of the greatest privileges for parents and teachers that we get to support young people as they navigate some of those steps.

We know the transition from primary school to secondary school can be a challenging time for children and their parents. We hope we have been able to provide you with some useful tips that will help prepare your child and allow them to transition from primary to secondary school with ease. If you would like to learn more about how Toorak College helps support children through this process, please contact our Head of Admissions, Tessa Cerreto, at

If you would like to read more about Dr Arne Rubinstein, you can visit his website.

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