Updated: Jul 31, 2022
So you have just completed a whirlwind year of exhibitions and explorations! How do you help your child put their best foot forward and start their journey into MYP in the best possible way?
Preparation for Secondary
1. Get organised - self-management skills are one of the five ATL (approaches to learning) skills developed (and assessed) throughout the MYP. While there will be a focus on developing these within school, you are in a great position to help your child get organised at home. Some areas to discuss:
Setting up a designated study space
Equipment - school bag, fully equipped pencil case, folder, computer, planner (the school may provide this). As this is a maths post, I have to encourage you to ask about the school policy about what type of calculator you should purchase.
Night before routines - how to read timetables, packing the correct books in their school bag.
After school routines - extra curriculars, study schedule, catching public transport.
Reflecting and setting goals - daily, weekly, termly.
Strategies to approach long term projects.
Speaking up - knowing how to ask for help, and who to go to, is an invaluable skill. In general their tutor will be their main reference point for most concerns while their class teacher is beneficial for subject specific needs.
2. Develop social skills - unlike in PYP where your child had one class and one (main) teacher, your child will definitely be moving classrooms and may be with different groups of children throughout the day. Throw into the mix that they may not be with their previous friends and you may be left with quite an anxious child. Moving to the MYP should be viewed as an opportunity - an opportunity to meet diverse people in tutor groups, subjects and extra curricular activities. No one knows your child better than you so help them look for opportunities to flourish and identify areas where they may need to support. Get in early contact with their head of year, tutor or school counsellor if you foresee any major problems.
3. Discuss smart screen usage - this covers a whole host of areas. Browsing the internet with care, plagiarism, social media, keeping passwords safe, respecting others online, screen time etc. Some schools have a ‘bring your own device’ policy, others have a ‘no-phone’ policy, some have computer suites, others leave technology for home time. While the school will set boundaries for classroom usage, you still have a responsibility to share your expectations with your child; even better if you can explain why those boundaries are in place. There will undoubtedly be more freedom as your child gets older so it is important that they can make healthy decisions when you, or their teacher, isn’t watching.
Preparation for Mathematics
4. Understand the subject criteria - by no means do either of you need to become an expert. In fact, your child’s teacher will want to fully introduce the criteria in their own way so that their expectations are clear. However, it is really important that your child knows that assessments will rarely take the traditional ‘test’ format and that other elements are ranked as equally important to their knowledge. These skills involve finding patterns, communicating thinking, and reflecting on answers.
5. Brush up on prior knowledge/skills - this year, the IB has provided in the maths guide a list of topics that students should be confident with before venturing into the MYP. Setting some time aside at the end of PYP6 to check your child grasps these areas of content will save any catch up sessions in the new academic year.
6. Offer your help - You do not need to be the greatest at maths to help your child. Honestly, you don’t even need to be better than them! Maths in the MYP is all about exploring, inquiring, and observing. You can play a major part in that by asking them questions, showing them how to explore to find the answer (effective research), communicating your thinking process out loud, predicting with them and reflecting on any mistakes made.
If you have any questions about supporting your child through this move, please leave a query using the chat feature. If you are a parent and have any further tips, please leave them in the comments below.
Good luck to you and your child!