A multiage classroom is an environment where children of more than one grade level are grouped together for instruction. In this environment, the teacher provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum based upon each child's individual strengths, needs and interests. The term "developmentally appropriate" means that each child's own progress and growth are used to determine what he or she is ready to accomplish. This approach recognizes that students learn and develop at different rates, just as they do as they learn to crawl, talk and ride a bike. Children spend two or more years with the same teacher, with older students leaving at the year's end and new students joining each fall term.
1. Teachers get to know children in depth, planning for their individual strengths, needs and interests. The teacher also has the time and opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with the students' families, thereby strengthening the home-school partnership that is fundamental to supporting children in their education.
2. Problems associated with the yearly transition from one grade to another are reduced since many of the students are familiar with their teacher and the established classroom environment's routines, expectations, traditions and procedures. New students benefit from the experience and leadership of older students in these settings.
3. Children have a broader social experience with increased opportunities to lead and to follow, to collaborate and to make stable, longer lasting peer relationships.
Educational research indicates that students benefit both academically and socially from being placed in multiage classrooms. For more information, please visit Manitoba Education's "Independent Together: Supporting the Multilevel Learning Community" at http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/cur/multilevel/