Multi-age classrooms are classrooms with students from more than one grade level. Corbett Grade School has multi-age classrooms because of a pedagogical choice of the Corbett School District. Multi-age classrooms are composed of students who are more than one year apart. Students remain with the same teacher for more than one year. Multi-age classrooms are made up of a mix of abilities and ages. Students are not grouped based solely on academic performance. Multi-age classrooms reflect the natural groupings found in our neighborhoods, communities and in the world, and provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas, modeling of behaviors, practice of responsibility and nurturance, and development of leadership and social skills.
In multi-age classrooms, all children, even the older children, are on their own continuum of learning. The curriculum is opened up for ALL the children. The older child is able to go as far as he or she is able to go just as the younger child is. Oftentimes in a same-grade classroom, some children who have accomplished the curriculum, stagnate or get bored with learning things they already know. This does not happen in the multi-age program. The older child is able to progress beyond the traditional curriculum limits.
Older children also benefit socially and emotionally. Older children have the opportunity to mentor younger children. This allows all the older children to gain confidence and increase their self-esteem. Without the strong competitions of same-age classrooms, older children are free to cooperate and help others.
Do gifted children benefit from multi-age classrooms?
Yes, gifted children benefit from multi-age classrooms in much the same way that older children benefit. Gifted children are also on their own continuum of learning. They are not held back by a prescribed grade-level curriculum. The open-ended curriculum in a multi-age classroom encourages children to explore, discover, and invent. Gifted children, as do all children, have the freedom to pursue their highest level of achievement.
Our classrooms at Corbett Grade School are organized in two-year groupings of kindergarten-first grades, second-third grades, and fourth-fifth grades. We also have two grade six classrooms in our school community.