Everyone benefits when different grades work together.
That’s why we’re committed to a multi-grade learning environment. For some students this means working with a reading buddy from an older class. For other students it means learning in a classroom with both second and third grade students. And for others it means studying social studies and science in an academic team with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students.
The multi-grade groupings are well thought out, appropriate to students’ developmental stages, and continually assessed.
The benefits are clear:
- It enables children to be grouped by need, ability, or interest, not just by age.
- It builds leadership and responsibility in older children.
- It solidifies the skills of older children because they have the experience of teaching and working with younger children.
- It stimulates younger children through working with older children.
- It increases social experiences. Students have a broader social experience with increased opportunities to lead, follow, collaborate, and foster peer relationships.
Teaching this way is harder. It requires planning. Training. Communication. Flexibility. Our teachers wouldn’t have it any other way. They see the difference it makes in the learning experience of the students. And they like working in teams. Being part of a teaching community. Gaining from the experience of their coworkers. Sharing their gifts.
For further reading on multi-age classrooms.
Note: At the end of each of these summary articles is an extensive scholarly bibliography with additional resources.
- Pavan, B.N. The benefits of nongraded schools. Education Leadership, 50 (2), October 1992
- Song, R., Spradlin, T. E., & Plucker, J.A. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Multiage Classrooms in the Era of NCLB Accountability. Educational Policy Brief (7,1 Winter 2009)