Most parents manage the move relatively well: planning, organizing, providing information about the move. But what most parents forget is the transition. Change is finite. February 6 is Moving Day. September 9 is the First Day of School. December 17 is the beginning of Winter Break. Change generally happens on a schedule that has a start and a finish. Transition, however, can be infinite. It is fluid and temperamental and highly individualized. It is this process of transition that has a significant impact on learning.
Transitioning to a new school after a move is fraught with pitfalls. In early elementary school, the focus of learning is mastering the basic fundamentals. Different schools focus on different skills and different topics at different times during the school year. If you are moving with your third grader and the move occurs before cursive writing is taught at your old school but after it has been taught at your new school, you child will miss that fundamental skill.
Talk with the teachers at the school you are leaving. Ask for curriculum plans so you can discuss and compare with your child’s new teacher to minimize gaps in learning. Make time in your schedule during the first month after your move to talk with school personnel specifically about curriculum. You will be overwhelmed with boxes and getting everything settle (yes, very important) but letting those last few boxes sit an extra day (or week!) will be worth ensuring your child isn’t left behind academically.
No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.