Transition classroom activities

Transition classroom activities

The transition from primary to secondary school involves a period of rapid change, which is challenging for everyone involved. It is often a time of celebration and excitement, but it can also be worrying and stressful as students are required to adapt to new environments and expectations. Successful transition is vital to the development of students' sense of belonging, connectedness and academic self-competence, as well as to the prevention of potential anti-social behaviours and mental health issues.

Effective transition programs can prepare students for the changes and challenges they face. These classroom activities developed by ReachOut Schools are designed to assist schools to plan and implement early intervention and prevention strategies to promote belonging and wellbeing in all students as they reach this stage of potential vulnerability.

These initiatives need to meet a range of student needs. However, research indicates that to prepare students and enhance their resilience, lessons should include:

  • supportive relationship skills: social skills that improve connection to peers, school staff, family and other support networks
  • self-efficacy skills: skills for coping constructively with stress, as well as the development of positive academic self-competence
  • positive goal setting skills: to assist more optimistic thinking, a sense of direction and meaning in life.

These classroom activities will be most effective when used as part of a broader whole-school strategy that includes the consideration of home rooming to reduce movement about the new school, fewer class teachers to support positive relationship building, and the consistent utilisation of set small peer-support groups.

By implementing meaningful transition programs that include a range of activities, schools can prepare their students for a positive transition experience. Activities and lessons that assist students to develop social and emotional skills will enhance their resilience and levels of engagement, and ensure that they transition smoothly into secondary school.

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Engaging classroom activities

20 minute activities to support your students starting secondary school.

Breaking the ice

Students use ice-breaker activities to connect with their peers.


20 minutes

Overcoming challenges

Students consider potential challenges and suggest ways to prepare for them.


20 minutes

Making friends

Students explore new ways to make friends and understand the importance of forming new friendships.


20 minutes

Social skills

Support students to develop interpersonal skills and build connections with peers.


20 minutes

Support networks

Students discuss support networks and how these can help them during challenging times.


20 minutes

Building resilience

This lesson helps students to recognise their resilient qualities while exploring habits that build resilience.


20 minutes

Coping with stress

Students explore techniques to reduce stress.


20 minutes

Goal setting

Students learn how to set goals to motivate them, and to help them concentrate on what's important to them.


20 minutes

Optimism and gratitude

Students examine the benefits of optimism and gratitude, exploring how they can practise these skills during transition.


20 minutes

Organisation and time management

Students learn strategies to help them develop organisational skills for secondary school.


20 minutes

Starting high school video

Use this animation to help students feel less stressed about starting high school.


20 minutes

Resources for parents and carers

Share with parents and carers to support a whole school approach to student wellbeing.

Transitioning to high school

A checklist for parents to help with the transition from primary to high school.

School, education and teenagers

Learn about the different causes of stress at school and how to manage these hurdles more effectively.

Transition to high school for teenagers

The high school transition phase is when teenagers finish primary school and prepare to start secondary school.

Things to try: Transition to school

There are many steps parents can take to make sure your teen’s transition to high school is a positive experience.

Resources for students

Engaging and reliable content for young people to support their wellbeing.

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Resources for school staff

Articles for teacher wellbeing and supporting students.

Get the most out of Student Snapshot

Student Snapshot surveys are quick for teachers to set up and simple for students to complete. Find out how best to use Student Snapshot with your cohort.

How to support new high school students

Starting high school can be a challenging time for students. Here’s how teachers can help to ensure that students have a positive experience.

Creating a smooth transition

The transition to secondary school, when done well, can be a key contributor to a student’s developing a strong sense of self and a positive self-identity, as well as fostering broader aspects of success.

Understanding student needs

Taking the time to get to know your students as individuals can make you a more effective and impactful teacher.