A BRITISH author has published a self-help guide for children making the tricky transition from primary to secondary school, and she should know - she's 12.
At Sixes And Sevens is Libby Rees's second book. Help, Hope And Happiness, driven by her parents' divorce, was published when she was nine.
"I found out that quite a lot of children felt quite sad about going up to high school," Libby said from her home in Hampshire, England.
"You go from being the biggest to the small fry and the homework can be quite a shock."
Libby's first book - available in five languages - provided tips on how to cope with family break-ups. The book led to her appointment as a youth ambassador for Save the Children, to which she donated most of the profits, and countless media appearances, including a short stint as an "agony infant". She has been hired as a consultant for a BBC show about a boy dealing with his parents' split.
"When my parents got divorced I was six. I used some techniques to get through it," she said.
"I had so many ideas I thought it would be a waste to keep them to myself. I thought I might be able to help other children. That way I would remember something positive from my parents' divorce."
The "techniques" she came up with displayed an astonishing amount of emotional maturity for a pre-teen. One - "sticks and stones" - came to her while she walking her neighbour's dogs.
"You label a stick with something that's bothering you and then you throw it away and offload the problem," she said.
Libby's tips for starting at high school are characteristically practical - conduct a dry run of the new bus route, make sure you do your homework on the night it is set, be sure to research your new school.
She said it was more meaningful for kids to be counselled by a peer who understands their fears than by a distant adult.
"It's important to know that, when you do go to secondary school, you're not the only one who feels scared," she said.
Thousands of students are preparing for one of the most difficult childhood transitions - from 6th grade to year 7.
Last week, a group of friends who finished primary school at St Francis de Sales, Woolooware, spoke about their hopes and fears for the new year. The boys will be attending De La Salle College at Caringbah, while the girls are enrolled at Our Lady of Mercy College at Burraneer.
All will be going into schools with five times as many students in their year group - and homework, tougher teachers and bigger children are causing them stress. "It will be different because you're the leader of one school and then you become the babies of the new school," Eloise Newbery, 11, said.
Source: The Sun-Herald
January 13, 2008
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