Our multi-age classrooms place students of different ages with a range of achievement levels together within one classroom. The teacher plans instruction and assessment expecting and celebrating diversity within the class.
Students who would typically be considered Kindergarten or First Graders are grouped together; traditional Second/Third Graders form another class; and Fourth/Fifth graders are placed together in another class. Students remain with their teacher for a two- year period. Each class has a maximum 15 students.
Multi-age Classrooms: How are they different from typical grade-level classrooms?
A typical classroom follows a scope and sequence of tasks with specific starting and ending points. Students either master the skills designated and “pass” or don’t master the skills and “fail.” All students take the same tests to measure their success at “mastering” the curriculum. Students typically use the same textbooks and materials. In a multi-age classroom, students are taught at their developmental level, rather than at their grade level. Students are grouped by skill need, not by ability. Groups change frequently. Students can participate in review lessons and enrichment lessons as needed, without regard to their age. Student progress is monitored closely and students advance from one level to the next in a continuous fashion, rather than waiting for the next school year to start.
What are the benefits of multi-age classrooms?
The academic needs of both slower and faster learners can be met with a more flexible and needs driven curriculum. Students and teachers spend two years together, minimizing the time it takes to “start over” learning new procedures, routines, and expectations each year. Research indicates that students in multi-age classrooms have more positive attitudes towards school. Children have more opportunities to be leaders in their classrooms. Since there are no “grade-level” mandates, students can spend more time learning a particular skill when necessary, and excel beyond typical achievement when possible.