Greenwood Friends School is always striving to improve, while maintaining a commitment to established educational practices that succeed. An important next step in our educational approach is to expand our mixed-age classrooms in the Lower School so that we gain the benefits of this approach, while containing class size to 16-18 students. For 2012-2013 and beyond our classrooms will be Pre-School (ages 3-4), Lower School (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 classrooms), and Middle School (6-8). We will continue to have one lead teacher in each classroom and will add teaching assistants to our ranks as needed. Read more below for the benefits of mixed-age classrooms.
Some of the benefits of mixed aged classrooms:
- When a student and a teacher know each other from the previous year, they gain weeks of teaching and learning time. Less review of prior instruction is needed before proceeding with new content.
- Second year students’ anxiety over yearly transitions is lessened with the knowledge that they will be returning to the same classroom with familiar teachers and some familiar classmates.
- Returning students understand expectations and routines of the class, and have the opportunity to become leaders within the classroom as they guide younger students. Studies have shown that when one can teach a concept, idea or procedure, the retention rate is 90%, whereas learning information simply to repeat it has a 25% retention rate.
- Younger students experience enhanced learning opportunities as they work in small groups based on readiness and interest rather than chronological age.
- Students and teachers develop lasting relationships through the multiple year time frame. They come to a greater understanding of each other as individuals and as learners. These relationships often continue throughout students’ Greenwood experience and beyond.