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Transitioning to secondary school, some advice from SCIA

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STEM activity for SCIA Grade 8 students. Part of a secondary school education is learning to work collaboratively. Photo supplied

Transitioning to secondary school, some advice from SCIA

Entering secondary education for the first time can be a daunting prospect for both students and parents. As students start secondary school, a lot of what they thought they knew may be tested, they must become accustomed to a new level of independence and heightened expectations from teachers, parents, and of course themselves.

The Post talked to Anselm Chu, Managing Director and School Director for SCIA School, a newly opened institution on a brand new, state of the art campus in Phnom Penh City Center.

Chu says that one of the biggest and most obvious differences for students in the transition to secondary school is, “(when) you are in year six, you’re like the big brother of the primary kids, but in secondary school you are the youngest brother that is a very apparent transition… They have to start all over again”

SCIA offers primary and high school education from year one through to lower and upper secondary school.

Depending on the student, staying at the same institution for secondary school can be a positive or negative thing. For instance “Children can think…‘now I am in secondary school I have to prove myself all over again’, if they are going to a different school.”

This can be difficult as a new school means new challenges.

The other option is to stay on at the same school, this is not always possible, but at SCIA, students have the option of going on to secondary school without changing campuses, “at least if you are in the same school, your knowledge and your understanding of the system is highly transferable” said Chu, adding “It can be a double edged sword, sometimes it can work the other way also, (a child might say) ‘I made mistakes in primary school’, it can be a stigma, it also explains why students like to change school.”

If the student has formed an identity that lacks self esteem, it can be a good idea to give the student a chance to turn over a new leaf in a new high school.

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SCIA Primary students engaged in group discussion. Photo supplied

While the change to secondary education can be difficult for students, it can also throw up some unexpected problems for parents. Parents must allow their children more freedom and independence. This can prove scary for some parents who may not understand the system as, “there are sometimes parents, sending their children to high school when they didn’t go to high school themselves.”

Luckily says Chu, often grandparents can help in raising the children, picking them up and dropping them off at school, “Surprisingly the grandparents are very good, if they (the children) fall, the grandparents say it is ok to be injured, so they are not so much like a helicopter parent, it is often the opposite.”

When the transition is handled well everybody wins. This is evidenced in the feedback that Chu has received from parents with regard to his secondary school students, “When our (first intake of) high-school students started their classes, many of them were from other schools, I had live feedback from parents thanking us, saying ‘hey Mr Chu I don’t know how you guys did it, my son or daughter used to be very disinterested (in studying) coming to SCIA has made him or her independent.’”

Anyone wishing to learn more about SCIA can make sure to visit one of SCIAs many booths at the 6th Kids Fair and Family expo at Koh Pich Exhibition Hall on January 19th and 20th from 8am to 8pm.

Should parents and students wish to visit the SCIA campus, an Open Day with activities and performances will be held at the school campus at Phnom Penh City Center from 9am to 2pm on the 26th and 27th of January.

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Mr Anselm Chu, SCIA Managing Director & School Director