Transitioning from home to a formal learning environment, from class to class, from kindergarten to school, primary to secondary school or from one school or setting to another can be a positive experience if appropriate time, discussion and familiarisation with the new environment occurs.
Open up a discussion with your child
You should openly discuss with your child any fears, real or imagined their child may have. Gifted children with an advanced ability to imagine and analyse the potential of the new situation may find it especially helpful to discuss the worst case scenarios and the (low) probability of them ever occurring.
Transitions between settings will also be stressful but may be necessary for a number of reasons, such as families needing to move for work. If a change of school or setting is necessary, you should collect evidence, including formal assessments, anecdotal evidence or learning achievements, that demonstrates your child is advanced in their learning and requires different learning opportunities.
Approaching a new school
When approaching a new school, you should make an appointment to discuss with the principal the needs of your child, including sharing evidence, and discuss if and how they can meet learning needs.
Once you are confident a new school that meets your child's needs has been found, you should be mindful that your child will need social and emotional support to settle in. You should help your child to develop new friendships and to become involved in any extra curricula activities that will confirm their feelings of belonging.
You can help your child's experience of transition by requesting a meeting at school to discuss their awareness of your child's advanced learning needs, and temperament in coping with change. You should seek to arrive at a mutual agreement about how home and school can support your child in making this transition.
Developing a co-operative partnership with your child's school can be a valuable transitional tool for you as a parent, especially if your child has advanced development in certain domains plus some learning disabilities (twice exceptional or 2e). Both developmental areas need to be provided for if leaning progress is to be satisfactory. For more information on twice-exceptional children, see:
If you have formal test results confirming your child's high abilities, you are encouraged to share these with your child’s teacher prior to them starting in their new setting. This information will enable a holistic learning plan to be developed so that your child will be known and understood in their new environment.
This process may need to be repeated if the class teacher changes during the school year or the circumstances within the family change in any way.
Early entry to school
Some gifted children may benefit from starting school at a younger age. However, parents need to understand that this is only one way of providing satisfying learning opportunities for a child who may be advanced.
For more information on whether or not your child should be considered for early entry to school or kindergarten, see: Early entry to school