The Advantages of a Multi-grade classroom

Most of us today are accustomed to a classroom of students who are all in the same grade. This is called a singlegrade classroom. When a teacher teaches a classroom of students of different ages and grade levels, this is called a multi-grade classroom. In the spring of 2006 our church decided to expand onto our successful preschool (Thank you, Jesus!) by adding grades K – 3. Grades K -3 were taught in a multi-grade classroom.

When some hear that we are offering multigrade classrooms, this may catch them offguard. But it ought to win their keen attention because a multi-grade classroom can offer benefits not easily replicated in a single-grade classroom.

The Shift In Classroom Structure —This May Surprise You!

Which nation boasts the highest literacy rate in the world? It’s New Zealand, a nation where multi-grade classrooms are common today, just as they once were in America.1“Rural America has its own history of multi-age one- or –two-room schoolhouse. The oneroom schoolhouse offered certain attributes that were very sound educationally. First of all, children remained with the same teacher and primarily the same class of students for multiple years. School was a stable, reliable environment for the children…

Second, the mix of ages and abilities provided optimum opportunities for student collaboration [as] older students served as role models... There was no apparent ceiling on the content taught, discussed, or overheard with the room, which benefited older students by design and younger students more incidentally.”1

If multi-grade classrooms are so beneficial, why the shift to single-grade classrooms? The answer may shock you: mass production.

The concept of single-graded classrooms actually began in 1848 in industrialized Massachusetts as a way to “educate more children for less money.”2 In other words, the students’ welfare was not the foremost reason when an “assembly-line concept” of education entered the classroom.

“The practice of our present system [of single-graded classrooms] did not evolve from any research base… but it evolved and became a deeply ingrained tradition more by accident and economics.”2   READ MORE >>>