As a school with a diverse and vibrant community, Concordia Shanghai has gained a unique perspective of the complexities and challenges young people and their families are faced with when joining a new school and undergoing transitions across grade levels, having to get used to different teachers, make new friends, and follow a different schedule.
To help ease fears and anxieties, we offer support for new students and families—from early childhood to high school—aimed helping them adjust quickly to the Concordia community.
Early Childhood's Successful Start to School
For the youngest learners at Concordia Shanghai, we offer a safe, low-stress transition to the classroom through the Successful Start program.
For the majority of incoming preschool students, Concordia’s admissions office sponsors “mini-school day” events, complete with playtime, story and snack time, and a ride on the school bus, before the children’s August start. The aim is to acclimate incoming families to the campus and help lessen the stress of attending school for the first time. Incoming students are also invited to join current students and parents at the elementary school spring carnival and track/field fun day.
During the first three days of school, small groups of six preschool students take part in 90-minute classroom periods, where they can engage with the teacher and classmates at a pace that is developmentally appropriate. The following week, students attend three half-day sessions with their entire class before starting their regular full-day sessions which they will continue for the rest of the school year. Every child receive lots of personalized attention and support, making sure they get off to, indeed, a SUCCESSFUL START!
Friendly, Welcoming Buddies in Elementary School
In the Elementary School, our counselors are very much hands-on when it comes to transitional support. They usually arrange Lunch Bunch days for the new students together by grade level and then smaller group meetings circling around every new student. They might be also assigned a buddy by the homeroom teachers from the same class or an adjacent class, depending on the need of the student.
Any student can get lonely, shy or sad from time to time. To help new students who need a little nudge forging new friendships, the Buddy Bench (a solution proposed by a former ES student) on the ES playground are to help. The bright and happy rainbow-colored bench is a place where any student can sit to wait for a peer to come over and invite them to play or join an activity. It serves as an easy way for students to make new friends.
A Bonded and Engaged Community in Middle School and High School
Sometimes because Concordia has a low transition rate in terms of people transitioning out, a lot of friendship groups have already been set. It can sometimes be a challenge for students who are transitioning in to figure out how to make their way into a group. The Student Ambassador program from Grade 5-12 plays a key role in welcoming new students and helping them feel at home in addition to the support provided by our counselors.
The Student Ambassador program constantly changes to meet the needs of the new students entering school. Some examples of support from the SAs include:
- Shadow Days - prospective students are paired with an ambassador to be their buddy for the day.
- New Students - every new student is paired with an ambassador upon joining the school, to adjust to our school culture (academically, socially, and culturally), get connected with other peers, and answer questions the new student may have.
- Ongoing welcoming events - once a semester or more, SAs hold an activity when new students and SAs come together for bonding and fun!