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Benefits to looping and mixed age classrooms

Sky hall--home of the youngest Pathfinder students.

Sky hall–home of the youngest Pathfinder students.

  • Older students can act as mentors for younger students. Younger students have the benefit of more helpers.
  • Children in a multi-age classroom experience a much wider range of group roles than in single-age classroom. Each child has the opportunity to be “an elder,” “a leader,” and “a role model” in the classroom.  Kids who’d been followers take on leadership roles and blossom into strong leaders and role models.
  • The second time learning a skill you can come back as an expert. If a student has a chance to teach something he or she learns it at a deeper level. Teaching a peer builds confidence that you really know something. If you really know something well, you can explain it to another child. Pathfinder students are constantly in situations in which they are explaining a concept to someone else.
  • Their second year they come back with a lot of confidence walking in the door.
  • Half a class of new kids each year means our classroom culture carries forward each year.
  • Half a class of students and parents for teachers to get to know each year. Allows a teacher to pay more attention to each new student.
  • It gives all children the chance to be the younger person and the older person in our “family.” Gives children different perspectives. Many children also experience a role that differs from that of their family birth order.
  • Kids can see what is possible–they see first hand the skills and knowledge their older classmates have.
  • There are a lot of different levels in a multi-age classroom, and a teacher is able to individualize and have kids working at their own levels, at their own paces. But one is also able to do a lot of small group activities, and some whole group ones, too, that are more open-ended, that meet all those different levels.
  • Math–the teacher can become an expert at 2nd or 3rd grade curriculum, because the students take math with other students of their grade (e.g., two of the third grade halves meet for math each day with one teacher while the second graders meet with the other).
  • The students get to spend two years with same teacher.
  • It is safe for kids to be at whatever level they need to be at.
  • Helps kids think about pushing themselves, and they gain independence in doing so.
  • We can get kids just as far academically in multi-age classrooms with looping, with the added social/emotional benefits.