Multi-age Classrooms

Multi-age classes at Sugar Creek

Frequently Asked Questions 

Sugar Creek has a 1st/2nd/3rd grades multi-age program of three teachers who share three classrooms and co-teach all learners.  The teachers have chosen to work in this program and enjoy being multi-age teachers.  Our Kindergarten teachers consider which students may thrive more in straight or multi-age classrooms, or both equally, and then do placement.  The principal will also seek parent thoughts into this each spring. 

How does Multi-age work?  See all the questions/answers that follow.

Are the students in one huge group or in several rooms/groups?

We are only in one large group for our daily schedule, presentations (including our Spotlight Activity) and special announcements.  Otherwise we are in smaller groups for much of the day in various classroom spaces.

How are students grouped?

*Reading/Language Arts by ability/age appropriateness

*Math by grade level/ ability

*Science is delivered through an A-B-C curriculum schedule (see below)

*Social Skills, Social Studies, Projects by age or in mixed groups

What curriculum is covered?

We cover the same curriculum as the “straight grade” classrooms in all subject areas.  Our Social Studies and Science units follow an ABC rotation; that is, all of our students cover 3 science units each year so that by the end of the 3 year period, they have covered the exact same science units as the straight grade classrooms.

I can see how 1st graders would be challenged, but aren’t 3rd graders held back by the range of grades/ages?

Just like in straight grade classrooms, we differentiate our instruction based on student needs.  Because we already do many small, flexible groups, it is very possible for us to provide challenges or extra practice for children at each grade/age level.  There are times when students do meet in their grade levels, but there are more times when students are grouped  based on need, ability, interest, or skill.

Doesn’t 3rd grade “older behavior” negatively influence the younger kids?

In the vast majority of cases, our range of ages makes our classroom feel more like a family.  Although there is the occasional negative behavior, most of the time the older students provide a positive influence as they model more appropriate behavior, good listening, etc.

 

How are placement decisions made? Is it a “choice program”? Is the multi-age a better placement for certain students?

During the placement process your child could be placed in a multi-age or straight grade level classroom.  Based on information from parents and former teachers about learning styles, school personnel try to create classes that are similar in nature; that is, boys/girls, ability levels, etc. are evenly distributed in the various classes.  That said, there are sometimes parents who feel that their child would benefit from being with the same teachers over a period of time; or who feel their child does better with fewer transitions from year to year.

What if a student is placed in a multi-age classroom in the 2nd or 3rd grade year?

We have children who move in and out of our district/school each year.  It works great to have new children enter our class and become part of our community. 

What do teachers like about teaching in a multi-age classroom?

We love having children for more than one year and getting to know families.  We can start out with academics earlier in the school year because we know where the students were at the end of the previous year and we know about the child as a learner.  Children know the routines, help to teach them to the new students, and the transition to a new school year is smooth.  Children reinforce their knowledge by helping others at different grade levels.  The team approach helps us utilize more adults to make our groups smaller.  We like to share ideas and work as a team.

Do students stay in the program all three years?

Yes, unless otherwise requested by a parent or if an unexpected situation arises.

Does each teacher have a homeroom?

We have three classroom spaces and they each receive a name depending on our beginning of the year theme.  We use the homerooms to start the day and end the day.  It is the place where students can bring their notes from home and their homework.  Parents can contact that teacher to let us know about schedule changes.  However, we consider the whole group to be our class and that all the students have three teachers.  We also change up the homerooms at some point in the year in order to give the students variety and to allow teachers to spend time with all the students.

Does the student get too used to one environment by being in the same setting for three years?

Keep in mind that your child will still be working with three teachers over the course of the three years just like they would if they were in three different classrooms.  It is true that they will have some similarity year-to-year

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