Thoughts from Ellen

Multiage is the gift I give myself...I have the time and opportunity to really get to know my class over time.

Multiage is the gift I give my children...they have the time to really get to know me over time.

Multiage forces me to look at my class as individuals...not a high group or a low group of learners. They are of different ages and abilities, therefore I must factor that in to everything that I do.

Multiage allows children to acknowledge their own growth. The class is the constant...their growth is the variable. Children often announce "I can do _____________ this year!"

Multiage forces me to do new and different studies with my children. Having children for three years does not allow me to start each year the same way.

Multiage allows me to begin in year two and three already knowing most of my children. I know what they should be reading and where they are in math instruction. I know who to nudge and who to hug.

Multiage speeds up the start up time of my classroom each year. Ordinarily in every classroom, whether multiage or single graded, it takes students and teacher time to understand the program requirements and each other. Multiage speeds this up, since there are so many "teachers" in the room. The older children will scoop up the younger or newer students to teach them the workings of the room.

Multiage children experience different roles throughout the length of their program. First year kids, look and listen and watch. Second year kids do it, just right! They follow all the rules and teach them to the youngers without being asked. Third year kids are my gift to me...they look, listen, watch, teach and then they tell me ways to do it better. They are truly analyzing and synthesizing the classroom instruction and then taking it to the next step.

Multiage allows for growth over time. As a teacher, I do not have to make BIG decisions based on knowledge gained from less than 10 months of instruction. In most schools, extra year issues are discussed in January!

Multiage allows me the opportunity to get to know my parent group. Multiage parents are just like multiage children...once they know what is expected of them they go farther than I would ever have asked! My parents have true ownership of much of the classroom workings.

Multiage fits my personal teaching style. It allows me to grow and learn new content and new teaching strategies.