While he has just become familiar with the new organization of school time in college, your child will experience a small upheaval in the coming days to pass the national assessments at the start of 6th grade. What do they consist of? What are their goals for this 2022 school year, the first under the aegis of Pap NDiaye?
Back to 6th grade: what will change in 2022?
Important step, the returning to 6th grade is the major shift in a schooling now placed under the sign of autonomy. Many things change: your child is less supervised than in primary school, has new subjects, several teachers, a lot more work at home, new classmates, a heavier and less regular timetable and above all, national assessments which begin in the second half of September. Evaluations-assessments to measure the level of skills of very young college students and adjust from the beginning of the year the educational axes to be developed. It is that the level of French pupils is at half mast, and even shows worrying shortcomings in the main subjects, which the new Minister of Education Pap NDiaye is keen to correct as soon as possible, in accordance with his project of “school of excellence”.
6th grade assessments: which subjects, when?
From the start of entering 6th gradecollege students spend assessment tests. They are taking place right now in all colleges in France, and will end on September 30th. To do this, some parents have even been asked to provide their child with headphones. The purpose of these assessments:assess their level in French (comprehension of long texts) and mathematics (problem solving), two main subjects in which French students have largely regressed. In this regard, the number of children who enter secondary school with mediocre reading skills is still too high, and even more worrying are the proven cases of illiteracy. For the new Minister of Education, the challenge of his ministry lies mainly in this issue, nestled at the heart of his plan for inclusive schools, excellence and equal opportunities.
1- Teach him to organize himself
Entrance to college marks major changes at the organizational level. The child is no longer in primary school where he had only one master or mistress, the same classmates for several years and where he studied in the same classroom every day. From now on, the 6th grade student has a teacher for each subject, a timetablewhich sometimes varies from week to week, different classrooms which may be in several buildings, new classmates, hours of permanence, a correspondence book and the material that he will have to bring according to each course. “During the first weeks, we tried to be as present as possible: we always kept an eye on his diary, we helped him revise his lessons (even if he very often knew them inside out), we checked that he did his bag and his homework correctly, we made sure he didn’t forget an important check…”, recalls Annie, mother of 12-year-old Gabriel. “It is also important to teach him to anticipate from one week to the next and to prioritize his homework”, she advises. What if your child forgets to mark their homework? No worries. Most colleges now have a “interactive textbook” where all the homework to be done, test scores, planned outings are noted… It is also a platform on which parents can contact the various teachers in the event of problems. In all cases, switching to 6th gear allows empower him : forgetting his math book and having a punishment will serve as a lesson for him for the next time.
Another tip, don’t do not overload extracurricular activities : the child is naturally curious and will surely want to multiply the activities. However, remember that he has to adapt to a new rhythm, manage the different homework and a sometimes heavy schedule. The ideal? No more than two extracurricular activities, for example, a sport to let off steam and learn to channel your energy and a more cultural activity (such as music, theater or drawing) to promote your concentration and creativity. With the arrival at college, the child needs decompression time during which he does nothing and releases the pressure.
2 – Help him manage the workload
As far as possible, put aside your parental anxieties and avoid anxiety-provoking phrases such as “this year, it’s serious!“, “you are interested in working“, Where “you are going to have a lot of homework“. Unnecessary pressure for the student, especially since there may be a gap between the grades of primary and that of 6th grade. For good reason, the child may have difficulty assimilating the working methods of his new teachers (for example, some ask to do documentary research at the CDI or to make summaries of documents, things that are often new for the college student).we had to learn to put the grades into perspective, so as not to put more pressure on him. We left him the time of the first trimester to adapt to the new working methods“, specifies Annie. Also remember that the grading system may differ according to the teachers: a 13 for one teacher may be considered a very good mark and for another, very average. But if, from the second trimester, your child always chain bad grades, ask for an appointment with the teacher in question and discuss it together: does he have a problem of organization? Does he rather have a problem of memorization? Does he lack self-confidence and does he panic at each control?
3 – Show him the places upstream
To reassure him, show him the places upstream. Take your child to see the college if possible before D-Day and the route he will have to take (take the trip with him by bus if he has to use school transport or on foot). On the first day, the head teacher will visit the premises, often with the parents and may even distribute a map of the establishment. The teachers are also more understanding and know that the child needs time to familiarize himself with his new environment. There is therefore no reason to dispute him if he arrives late for the first few weeks. “In my son’s college, the 6th graders stay in the same classroom: it is the teachers who follow one another lesson after lesson. Less stress for new college students!“, says the mother.
4 – Help him face others
Having to be around other, older children can also be part of the child’s anxieties. Indeed, in CM2, the child is part of the “big” of the primary and suddenly, he becomes the “little” of the college. He may thus fear being teased, being considered a “baby”, or being bullied or even hazed by his elders. Here again, the educational team is there to manage the playground and detect any problems. If you have the slightest doubt about his well-being at school, contact the head teacher – who has a good knowledge of the class and the students, and who will be able to mediate between the different teachers – or the adviser. principal of education (CPE).
5 – He no longer has his friends in his college, what to do?
His primary school friends go to another school and he finds himself alone? If the first days can be difficult, reassure him: children are naturally sociable and have tendency to bond quickly. Especially since schools often organize events at the start of the year to mix classes and encourage meetings (sports lessons between several classes, setting up drawing workshops, lunchtime theater, cross country, school outings or integration trip, etc.). This is what Annie confirms, “Gabriel didn’t know anyone in his establishment. A few days after the start of the school year, his college organized an “integration stay”: two days in the south of France with all the 6th graders. Verdict: he came back delighted with his trip and made lots of new friends on this occasion.