Multi-Age Classroom Communities
Lower School classrooms are mixed-age learning communities. Four programs exist within the eight years of Lower School: Early Childhood (Age 3-5), Kindergarten-1st Grade (Age 5-7), 2nd-3rd Grades (Age 7-9), and 4th-5th grades (Age 9-11). These mixed–age communities are intentional in both purpose and practice; students typically spend two years with an advising teacher as they complete the curricular cycle. It is important to highlight that the Lower School is developmentally oriented, respecting the diverse capabilities and rates of growth among our students. The age and pace at which new learning occurs will vary from student to student.
Mixed-age learning communities provide opportunities for both challenge and support, leadership and observation, action and reflection, taking learning risks and cementing learning skills. Teachers in the Lower School work collaboratively in teams to provide students with genuine challenge in a workshop atmosphere. Recognizing the power of social learning, they create a classroom climate where students can progress in their natural journey from individual play in group settings, to parallel play and activity, to truly cooperative and collaborative endeavors.
Lower School classrooms are democratic places, reflecting both student initiative and teacher-directed instruction. Children exercise real choice, learn the give and take of being a responsible and caring member of a larger community, and develop skills of collaboration and creative problem solving. They are encouraged to take risks in their learning, aware that mistakes are perceived as learning opportunities. Students help to define the classroom culture by contributing to the development of a code of conduct and by participating in group problem solving.