Primary to Fourth Grade

“The universe is a big place. But it’s okay, you’ll grow into it.” – Carl Munson

Exiting primary and entering fourth grade is a big transition for children and their parents. In fourth grade, teachers begin preparing students for middle school and high school with a more traditional classroom set-up and schedule. They focus more on independent work and time management, and the pace of learning picks up. While most fourth-graders are ready for all this, others need help making the transition. This section will give a general overview of what transition looks like at this particular transition point.

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Elementary to Middle School

“Every step you take is a step away from where you used to be.” — Brian Chargualaf

The transition from elementary school to middle school is a traumatic time for many students and their families. Any child can have difficulty with the transition. However, students with disabilities—even those who have had successful elementary school experiences—often have more difficulty. Middle schools are often larger than elementary schools, and students must adjust to having numerous teachers each day instead of one primary classroom teacher. Planning for successful transition is necessary for these students.

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Middle to High School

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein

A focus on the transition from middle to high school is critical in preventing students at risk of dropping out of school from actually leaving school. The review of research on transition programs finds that students are less likely to drop out of high school if they participate in programs that help them transition from middle school (Mizelle, 1999). A recent study of Maryland schools revealed that many schools have instituted schools-within-schools, 9th grade academies, smaller learning communities, and other strategies aimed at improving the transition from middle to high school (Legters and Kerr, 2001).

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High School to Community

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”- Shakespeare. 

Change is scary, and the move from High School to Adulthood is probably one of the most exciting, challenging and frightening experiences we go through in our lives. It is a time of saying goodbye to familiar friends and routines, and beginning a new stage in life that is full of new people and new experiences. However, in order to be successful at whatever comes after high school, there needs to be careful planning involved in this Transition. A transition team, made up of the student, his or her family members, teachers, coaches, and guidance counselors will help the student prepare for the next phase in his or her life.

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Adult Transition

Life is really a one-way street – Agatha Christie

Bernice Neugarten (1996*) suggests there are three “times” which, interacting simultaneously, influence the development of adults.

  1. Life time: the biological time table the chronological passage of time indicated by puberty, the graying of hair, menopause, reduced levels of strenuous activity.
  2. Social time: age grading and expectations the time to go to school, the time to raise a family, the time to retire. Many of the major shifts of the life cycle are orderly and sequential, but many are social, rather than biological in nature and their timing is socially regulated – a social time clock is superimposed on the biological clock.
  3. Historic time: political, economic, social events such as war, recession, or resurgence of religion that affects what we do and when we do it.
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