1. Growing up in a rural farming community, I had no choice but to be in combined classes from grade 1 through grade 9 (with 7,8,9 all together in one class). I loved it! I looked up to those older students – they taught me a lot about social nuances, character and also what we might describe as a departure away from character 😉

    My daughter had the opportunity to be in a combined class when she was in grade 4 (with 5’s). It was a good experience for her and I wished she would have had more opportunities for this to happen.

  2. Thanks for this post. I really believe in the combined classroom and see your points in this post. It would be great to have more combined classes at school, rather than having only a single at grade level because this adds to the stigma of them being negative.

  3. That is why you are the ACE teacher you are, Kelly!!! We look a the “whole” child and what they bring to our door. And go from there. It was my “turn” to teach a K/1 split. First hard part was to decide who to “keep” from my Ks to transition into the 1s….could only keep 9 of the 18 that were staying. In terms of the opening year, those Grade 1s saved my voice, as when routines needed to be established with the Ks, i could say, “grade 1s, help the Ks”. I had some Ks that could read better than some of the 1s, of the 9 1s, i had about 3 reading levels….everyone took away something and i don’t really think that i thot…hmmm…that’s not 5 year old behaviour….or 6 year old behaviour….we just worked together and had a great year. K/1 split is hard in terms of the academic portion of learning for the 1s, and the Ks missed out on some Choosing time, but i think the relationships that were formed, the skills used to get along with others, outweighed this?

  4. Great post Kelli. The negative feelings about a combined class seem pretty common among both teachers and parents- and even students! I think when the curriculum became “mono grade” it complicated matters as many felt now we have to teach two distinct curricula. Understanding grades are an artificial construct based on ones birthday, it hardly makes sense to teach a pre-set curricula to half the class and a different one to the rest, yet there aren’t many models of doing it differently. It is my hope that the redesigned curriculum will open doors for more fluid teaching and learning.
    In my school we have multiage Montessori classes and they function like a wonderful close knit family environment. It is lovely to see!

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