Why Multi-Age?


ALL MAP, STUDENTS + TEACHERS, SPRING 2012

A critical element needed to accomplish the MAP goals is our multi-age structure in which two grade levels are in the same classroom working on a common curriculum.  This serves as the foundational structure that allows the individualized learning curriculum described above to be maintained consistently over six years of K-5.  

The wide span of age and resulting developmental differences in a two-year classroom creates an environment, which meets developmental needs by encouraging a wide range of learning styles and developmental rates.  With a common curriculum for both grades, there is a requirement for an open-ended curriculum.  The multi-age structure provides for very flexible groupings to teach math and language arts in ways appropriate to different children’s developmental level and style of learning.

Each MAP teacher typically has each child for two years and therefore only 10 new students per year.  This results not only in a very strong teacher-student bond but allows the teacher to learn and cater to each child’s own learning style.  The second-year students in a class are looked up to by the first-year students and teach the first-year students class processes, thereby allowing the teacher to focus on educational content rather than class procedure.  And children benefit from alternating between being the younger and the older.   

Just like in the traditional rural one-room schoolhouse the more advanced students strengthen their basic skills by teaching the less advanced and this is good for both.  This mentoring role changes from subject to subject and is available to all students.  Students also develop a sense of caring and nurturing as they help each other learn.

The MAP teachers have frequent meetings to coordinate approaches and ensure consistency over a six-year program.