The missing middle: puberty is a critical time at school, so why aren’t we investing in it more?

During the middle years, there is a shift in the relationship between parents and children — as children start to orient away from parents, towards their peer group. These changes can be seen as an opportunity to reestablish parent-child relationships, especially in the COVID-19 climate. …

Beyond the family home, schools are the most important context for development. School teachers can successfully identify students  that are likely to encounter issues in Year 7. Connection and familiarity between teachers and students can improve engagement with school.

Teachers also have an important role in providing a positive social environment for peer relationships and skill development.

This should be aimed at strengthening social and emotional learning, improving the primary to secondary school transition, and enabling more effective links between education and health services.

By Lisa Mundy, Senior research fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

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