The Final Stretch: Maximize The Last Semester and Prepare for the Next Grade

Though it feels like we were just celebrating the New Year, summer is already just around the corner. Naturally, that means the end of the school year will sneak up on us just as quickly as we keep a close eye on our calendars.

Maintaining focus during this last stretch of the school year is particularly important. It is sometimes the last immersion our students will have for a few months in schoolwork and direct studying. For our Grade 6 students, it is also the leadup to Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs). Putting in a little extra effort at the end of the year can make all the difference to the start of a new grade next year.We know we can lose focus on schoolwork as we start picturing clear blue skies and ice cream cones, so here are 5 tips from our Calgary private elementary school to help your little learner stay focused during the last semester and succeed in the next grade level.

1. Celebrate Their Academic Successes

One of the best ways to start preparing your child for the next grade level is to reflect on their successes in the current year. Approaching the end of the school year inherently means that your child has completed a plethora of new achievements in the past 7 months and made strides in their emotional, academic and social development. Celebrate them! 

Take some time to highlight these accomplishments; writing them down or flipping through the year’s coursework can be a great way for them to see a visualization of all their hard work. These celebrations can also facilitate conversations about where they have room to grow, and help them set realistic goals for the upcoming year.

By celebrating your child’s successes and making a point to acknowledge them, you send the message that their efforts are of value, appreciated and seen. In turn, children can feel important and see the positive results of their actions. In fact, “Celebrating success is just as important as achieving success, as it is essential to students’ self-esteem and confidence,” as per Number Works ‘n Words.

2. Develop Year-Round Study Habits

It is a lot easier to sustain a consistent momentum if you never lost it in the first place. Developing study habits for students to use year-round can ensure that they maintain a level of familiarity with their subjects of study, and makes the transition from summer break to school easier as they keep a similar study routine. 

Notably, one study published by ScienceDirect looked at academic achievement predictors in elementary school and concluded that after general intelligence and short-term memory, “study habits are among the most relevant (among the so-called noncognitive variables).” 

The study examined and noted the importance of several factors including the general attitude towards study, the place of study, the work plan and study techniques – all factors that impact how beneficial the schedule is.

Clearly, implementing and sticking to a study schedule is an incredibly influential factor in your child’s academic achievement. For our Grade 6 students who will be completing a Provincial Achievement Test (PAT), keeping a steady study schedule in the lead-up to these exams can make all the difference. Some of our favourite teacher-recommended study tips include: 

  • Create a course or PAT-specific study schedule
  • Start your study session with the hardest material
  • Try a practice test
  • Study with friends
  • Take breaks

3. Make an End-of-Year Plan

An end-of-the-school-year plan can also help to reduce stress and anxiety for students as they prepare to transition to a new grade level by providing a sense of closure to the current school year – helping them mentally and emotionally prepare for the changes ahead.

Take a moment to redefine any previously implemented schedules and incorporate some tasks that include “finishing up” the school year. This could include tasks like finally finishing a book, cleaning out their backpack, or completing a personal project in preparation for summer – like making a summer bucket list! Doing so gives both you and your child a chance to tangibly outline what their days will look like in the upcoming months and visualize an end-point to their hard work.

Having a visual cue in the form of a calendar or planner can help them mentally prepare to close out their studies and hit up the playground. It can also help solidify timelines and make them feel more aware of their upcoming schedule as they start to put in place time management skills.

Lastly, making an an-end-of-year plan lets you create a plan that acknowledges a transition into summer and gives you a headstart on learning over the summer months

4. Set Realistic Goals for Academic Achievement

Setting goals around academic achievement is important to outline expectations and provide your child with a goalpost. Simultaneously, it is also important to make these achievements realistic and malleable to ensure they can reach them and feel confident in their abilities. Setting unrealistic expectations can serve to do the opposite and can instead minimize their self-esteem. Achievable goals will not only see success but will work to instill confidence and develop a life-long love for learning.

For example, if your student struggles with math, setting a goal to become a statistical savant overnight is probably not realistic. If anything, it is just going to feel bad when they don’t find themselves on par with expectations. A better and more realistic goal may be to add in an extra 20 minutes of math-focused studies each day or to master their timetables.

At Asasa, we focus on early education to establish good learning habits that set your child up for success. Our focus on early academic introductions allows us to teach crucial study skills during those crucial early years – ensuring they stick and lead to academic success well into their later school years. To learn more about our processes and procedures, visit our academic handbooks

Registration for the 2023-2024 school year is open! Give us a call or book a tour to learn more about why our private elementary school is the right choice for your young scholar.