Our multi-age classrooms 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 consecutive years. The younger students have the benefit of working alongside “older” role models. The “older” students begin the second year with established peer and teacher relationships as well as familiarity with classroom routines and procedures. 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 supported by the teachers and returning students.
Two main considerations that influence the multi-age class are the learning environment and social/emotional development:
The Learning Environment
- Provides flexible, needs-based grouping for prescriptive instruction for students;
- Offers a wider range of academic experiences for students since two levels of curricula are intertwined;
- Provides students with two teachers with different personalities and teaching styles to meet a wider range of needs; and
- Promotes more student responsibility and independence with learning.
Social / Emotional Development
- Provides students natural leadership opportunities with peers;
- Allows for children to collaborate with a broader range of peers; and
- Establishes stability for students (and families) as students transition grades by returning to the same learning environment and teacher.