In a multi-age classroom we combine two grade levels to create a cohesive learning environment. There are many benefits for the students including having the same teachers and classroom for two years. The younger students have the benefit of working along side “older” role models. The “older” students begin the second year already knowing classroom procedures and teaching styles. As a result, teachers begin the year with established student/family relationships, knowledge of students’ academic strengths and weaknesses, and an understanding of students’ preferred learning styles. Getting to know the new “younger” students is a much easier task.
Two main considerations that influence the multi-age class are the learning environment and social/emotional development.
The Learning Environment
- Provides flexibility in needs-based grouping for prescriptive instruction
- Offers a wider range of academic experiences since first and second grade curriculum are intertwined
- Provides more choices in different learning styles, with two teaching styles and personalities to meet needs of students
- Gives students more responsibility and independence in learning
Social / Emotional Development
- Offers students a broader social experience with increased opportunities
- Enables children to take on more leadership roles
- Allows for children to collaborate with a broader range of peers
- Facilitates relationships on a variety of levels including interest, academics, and social skills
- Benefits students and families by establishing a sense of stability as first graders transitions to second grade with the same learning environment and teacher.