Our K-3 Multi-age classroom, Learning Through Literature, uses books as a springboard to all curricular areas such as science, social studies, art, and math. Students will read or listen to quality literature that teaches grammar, reading, spelling, vocabulary, writing mechanics, creative writing, thinking skills, content knowledge and more. We believe that teaching in this way makes reading a joy and provides a foundation for a lifetime love of learning.


Multi-age educational practices are grounded in the philosophy that every child can learn and has the right to do so at their own pace, learning is a continuum rather than a series of steps, diversity is to be embraced, and a classroom is a family of learners. By purposefully structuring a class to include a span of ages, students naturally become more accepting of one another's differences. This K-3 structure creates an atmosphere of nurturing rather than one of competition. The teacher finds himself or herself supporting each individual child and their own complex set of needs rather than trying to lead a group of students to complete an age-based step.
 

Learning Through Literature Multi-age program was developed with the following research findings in mind:

  • The quality of children's social competence accurately predicts academic as well as social competence in later
    grades (Jeffrey Parker and Steven Asher, 1987). 
  • Multiage cooperative groups promote thinking, learning, remembering, enjoyment, productivity, more time on task. Conflict and discussion result in deeper understandings, listening, expression, and synthesis (Johnson and Johnson, 1984; Johnson, 1991; Ames, 1992).
  • Children who assist or tutor another child increase the depth and organization of their knowledge (Bargh and Shul, 1980).
  • The most fruitful experience in a child's education is her collaboration with more experienced or skilled partners (Lev Vygotsky, 1978).
  • Younger children demonstrate more mature and cognitively complex play, more independence, and more complex speech when relating to older peers.
  • Older children paired with younger resulted in more complex modes of play, more complex and frequent social interactions to younger children than same age peers (Jane Golman, 1981; Nina Mounts and Jaipul Roopnarine, 1987; Carolee Howes and Joann Farver, 1987).
  • Interaction with younger children elicits greater rates of prosocial behaviors: practice
    in
    parenting, caretaking and altruism.
  • Children experience greater isolation in same-age rather than multiage classrooms (Joseph Adams, 1953; John Zerby, 1961).
  • When classrooms are made up of children who are highly similar to one another, there are more social "stars" but also more children who are rejected and/or neglected by their peers (Susan Rosenholtz and Carl Simpson, 1984).
  • Leadership behavior of older children in mixed-age groups was facilitative rather than dominating and bullying (Anne Stright and Doran French, 1988).
  • Children who are shy or withdrawn made significant and lasting increases in prosocial behavior when paired with younger children (Furman, Rahe, and Hartup, 1979).