When it comes to learning environments, one size may not fit all. Parents need to have an understanding of the various learning settings available for their children so they can choose the best option for each child. For some families, a combined grade classroom may be the perfect fit. This blog post will discuss a combined grade classroom’s benefits and how it could help your child thrive. We’ll also provide advice on how parents can decide if combining two grades into one classroom is right for their child given his or her unique personality and needs.
A Unique And Diverse Learning Environment
Combined grades classrooms in Ontario are not something new. In fact, they have been around since at least the early 1950s when they were thought to echo the origins of the one room schoolhouse where all students from grades 1 to 8 were taught in a single class.
Combined grades classrooms offer a unique and diverse learning environment for students, merging two different grades, such as second and third graders, into one classroom. Often referred to as ‘split grades’ or ‘multi-age classes,’ combined grades allow students of different ages, abilities and levels of knowledge to learn alongside each other while benefitting from the diversity of experience they bring. It also helps to reduce class sizes, thereby freeing up resources which can be beneficial within smaller school budgets where staff numbers may be limited.
Benefits Of Combined Grade Classrooms
Several benefits are associated with this type of learning environment; the most obvious is that it encourages collaboration between younger children who might learn best from hands-on experiences and older students who have established study habits that can help guide their peers. Furthermore, combined grades classrooms provide opportunities for teachers to implement flexible and personalized teaching strategies, adapting the curriculum to cater to all students’ diverse needs and abilities. As a result, combined grades have the potential to create a more inclusive, engaging, and dynamic educational experience for both students and educators.
While this may seem like a great idea for the younger students, many parents are often left wondering if it is a good idea if their child is in the older grade. The thought is that they may not be challenged enough. However, years of combined grade classrooms have shown that each child will be challenged at their own academic level.
While some of the topics in the classroom may vary from other children in the school, all students will receive the full and complete grade program. Additionally, older children in the split class will learn to work with younger children, reinforcing their confidence, leadership skills, and independence.
What Does The Research Say?
There have been various studies to track the effects of combined grade classrooms throughout the past few decades, but one by Dr. Joel Gajadharsingh (Professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan), a leader in North American research in combined grades, stands out among them. In 1991, the Canadian Education Association summarized his extensive findings and concluded the following:
- Children in combined classes get an education that is just as good or better as in single grade classes.
- Children in classes where there is more than one level learn to become more independent, responsible learners and develop a greater degree of social responsibility. They also develop better study habits and a more positive attitude towards school.
- 85% of teachers considered the achievements of students in multi-grades equal or superior to those in single grades in language arts, mathematics, sciences and social studies.
Tips For Ensuring Success With Combined Grade Classrooms
For parents who are considering enrolling their child in a combined grade classroom setting here are some tips you should consider:
- Establish clear expectations: Ensure your child understands what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t so there is no confusion about expectations within the classroom setting.
- Find out how the program has been tailored to meet your child’s needs in a class as a whole and for their individual needs.
- Talk to your child regularly about their school experience, and any schoolwork brought home.
- Communicate regularly with teachers: Keep in touch with your child’s teachers frequently, so you are both working towards similar goals for your child’s success.
- Be a part of the school! Attend parent information nights, volunteer for programs, field trips, or join school councils or associations.
Following these steps will help ensure that your child has a successful experience in a combined grade classroom setting!
Dropkick Math Academy And Split Classes
You may wonder why we are so interested in combined grade classrooms here at Dropkick Math Academy. As all of our tutors are certified Ontario teachers, we understand the complexities of split classes and the benefits they can offer. But it isn’t just out of interest that we keep our eye on the results of combined grades classrooms.
We know that not all online math tutors are equal, and we like to think our programs are superior to many others! Our programs at Dropkick Math Academy are similar to a split class as they are not assigned to just one single grade. So, you may find grade 4’s and 5’s in the same program, just like in a split class.
With our Early Indicators Assessment, we place children in our programs based on their learning abilities, not their grade level. We don’t want children to be overwhelmed or lose interest in our math tutoring because the content is too easy for them. By taking our assessment, we can understand where your child is with their education and how much help they may need to get caught up.
So, similar to a split grade, our students learn from each other, develop better study habits and have an overall more positive attitude toward their education!
For more information about our math tutoring programs or to get started with our FREE assessment, visit our website today!