9 Ways to Prepare for Success in Middle School as a New Student

  • Preteens
  • The Teenage Years
9 Ways to Prepare for Success in Middle School as a New Student
Jenn McDonough, Middle School Division Head

It can be intimidating and feel overwhelming to be a new student in the Middle School years. As a parent, you wonder if your child is ready academically and how he or she will integrate socially. New relationships can seem to come easier to a student in Lower School, and the emotional maturity of a student in Upper School is still developing in your younger Middle School student. But you can count on a warm, nurturing, and caring environment filled with faculty and staff who will know and help guide your child.

From an academic standpoint, in grades 5 and 6 there is a big emphasis on reading, writing, and math. Students need to make sure they have some great habits and are developing perseverance in these areas.

Here are nine simple things you and your child can do during the summer to feel ready, comfortable, and excited for starting at Bear Creek in the fall.


  • Reading out loud, even to your older children, is still very important. Common Sense Media has 10 great reasons including building vocabulary and fostering discussion along with several reading resources to explore.
  • Encourage continued reading for pleasure. Studies have shown that students who enjoy reading for pleasure between the ages of 10 – 12 will enjoy reading for the rest of their lives. Students entering grades 5 and 6 can participate in the Bear Creek Libraries’ Summer Reading Program and earn a free dress day.
  • Starting in grade 5, students start to read more independently to gain information in science and learn more about history. Becoming confident as a reader will help develop the skills to tackle more academic texts.
students at science fair

Grade 5 students presenting at the Science Fair


  • Encourage keeping a summer journal and writing a few sentences each day about what happened. Students in grade 5 will start their day writing in a journal, so practicing regular writing is a great muscle to start developing.
  • Write letters to family or friends making sure to include a friendly greeting, something your child did recently, something your child is looking forward to, a question to engage connection, and a warm farewell.
Grade 6 student with poetry

Grade 6 student sharing her poetry


  • Students often do very well with math concepts but can feel like they are struggling when they make simple calculation errors. A great free program to practice math facts is XtraMath. Practicing regularly for just 10 minutes at a time can greatly improve rapid recall and develop math fluency.
  • Look for ways to incorporate simple math into your everyday life. At the grocery store, you can task your child with estimating the grocery total by rounding prices up and keeping a running tally. You can also take home the receipt and see if your child can duplicate the total. For an extra challenge, he or she can calculate the sales tax to learn a bit about percentages and multiplying decimals.
Math 7/6 Battleship

Grade 5 students playing Math Battleship in Math 7/6

Social-Emotional Growth

  • All students have struggled with leaning into learning how to work through conflict since they have been socially distanced from their friends and continually under the direct guidance of an adult. Take the conflicts that arise in day-to-day life to help your child practice learning how to react unemotionally to a situation and develop the self-advocacy to ask for space to calm down and return with well-reasoned thoughts.
  • Encourage your child to do tasks at home that are serving others like helping with the laundry, washing dishes, or emptying the garbage. Remind your child that he or she is contributing to and working to develop your family community. As students join the classroom this fall, they will be part of a community of students working together.
grade 6 student drama

Grade 6 performing Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Lastly, we are praying for you and your child. We recognize that it is a big move and a big commitment to come to The Bear Creek School and integrate into a new community. We are here to support our students and their parents along the way.


About the Author

Middle School Division Head Jenn McDonough

Jenn McDonough is Early Middle School and Middle School Division Head at The Bear Creek School. Jenn’s experience in education includes teaching grades 1 – 8 in addition to working as a school administrator. Jenn began teaching at Bear Creek in 1999; she is passionate about the mission of the school and believes combining classical education from a Christian worldview in a nurturing environment with incredible faculty is how education ought to be done. Jenn's four children are Bear Creek students or graduates. She holds a B.A. Education from Northwest University.