For the first time ever, a cohort of Year 6s in 2014 said goodbye to their familiar primary school surroundings. And now, they’re about to finish their second week of high school.
Transitioning to high school is one of the biggest changes in a young person’s life, so to help primary students prepare, many chaplains run ‘Transition to High School’ programs.
One of those chaplains is Bev Brown. She’s been the chaplain at Petrie State School since April 2013.
“Throughout last year, I realised how nervous many of the students were about starting high school,” Bev says. “They were concerned about fitting in or feeling lost, and worried they may be bullied or not make friends.”
“Sometimes when students are struggling with something, just knowing they have someone to talk to and who cares about them, gives them the courage to get through the day.” – Chappy Bev
To help calm some of those fears, Bev arranged a time for the Year 6 and 7s to meet their high school chaplains, so they’d at least know one friendly face.
“I invited the chaplains from Pine Rivers High, Bray Park High and Murrumba Downs Secondary College to come over to Petrie during break. It was a great opportunity for the students to put a face to their future chaplain, and for the chaplain to meet the students so they could recognise them during their first few weeks of high school,” Bev says.
“As a social worker, I’ve had experience helping people transition from one situation to another. So, my previous social work experience helped me give students opportunities to talk through their fears and concerns, to help them realise they were not alone, and that their feelings were completely normal for their situation. We also talked about what resources they would have at high school to help them and how to access them,” she says.
Last year, Bev started a ‘Seniors Club’, which ran once a week during break time. “I invited different members of the community to talk to the Year 6 and 7s or run activities with them. It was a great opportunity for the guests to teach the seniors about resilience, self-esteem, peer-pressure and avoiding harmful behaviour,” Bev says. She is running the program again this year.
“Sometimes when students are struggling with something, just knowing that they have someone to talk to and who cares about them, gives them the courage to get through the day,” Bev says.