A multiage classroom is a mixed-age group of children who stay with the same teacher for more than one year. The children, teacher and parents become a unique “family” of learners. At Union, the primary multiage classroom includes children who may take two or three years to move to third grade and is designed to give every child opportunities to find success on his or her path of growth.
Teachers approach curriculum using themes, integrating all areas of learning—reading, spelling, writing, math, science and social studies. Each student is viewed as an individual member of a community of learners, and teachers recognize that not everyone will progress at the same rate. Primary multiage classrooms feature large group instruction and smaller, flexible groups for specific skill instruction. Curriculum is based on the Oklahoma Priority Academic Skills (PASS) and the district’s instructional plan (scope and sequence) for first and second grade. Teachers employ a variety of assessments and report student progress using a report card designed specifically for the primary multiage program.
Students make continuous progress, that is, they progress through skills as quickly as their development will allow.
Students needing more time to master skills can do this in primary multiage classrooms without “being held back.” High achieving students also do well in this setting, often achieving above their grade level in course work.
Another advantage is that children spend two to three years with the same teacher. This enables the student to build a long-term relationship with the teacher and gives the teacher time to develop a more comprehensive picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses, thus improving the quality of the student’s education.
In addition to academic development, students have the opportunity to develop leadership and social skills. Not only do students learn from their teachers but from each other as well.
Research indicates that academic achievement in multiage classrooms is the same as or better than that of single-grade classrooms. Since many of the skills required for first and second grade overlap, this is an ideal age to offer the program. Studies also reveal that students in multiage classrooms have positive attitudes toward school, themselves and others.
Parents are given the opportunity to apply for their child’s admission into the program in the spring. An attempt is made to maintain ratios similar to the rest of the district in regard to gender, achievement and ethnicity.
Parents may contact their child’s principal for further information regarding parent meetings and the application process.