The community-based focus of the Village Charter School occurs in multi-age groups both in the classroom and in all-school activities such as school plays and festivals. Older students model and mentor for younger ones, as students engage with one another, they learn and practice conflict resolution and, communication skills, as well as develop a strong sense of belonging to and participating actively in the larger community. Classes vary in how broad the multi-age groupings are, but all our classes are multi-age, and all children feel the benefits.
Our curriculum recognizes that each child learns differently and uses a variety of strengths at different times in his or her development. Our goal is to create a learning environment which is responsive to each child and to the unique dynamics of each group at any given time.
Benefits of Multi-age Classes
Research on cross-age interaction, peer tutoring, and cooperative learning indicates that an age range of greater than one year can provide a level of intellectual stimulation that supports the development of both intellectual and academic competence. This sort of learning environment is also likely to generate greater social benefits than same-age groups. (Katz et al., 1990)
Experience and wisdom are valued, democratic values and practices are promoted, and a responsible, nurturing style of leadership evolves. Students are less likely to define themselves through peer pressure, and there is less competition than in a same-age class.
Continuity gives children a feeling of community and commitment, and an intimate extended family feeling develops.Students can stay with the same teacher for two or more years, allowing teachers to work more deeply with students, helping children to develop their abilities.
What Our Families Say
“In a multi-age class, differences are embraced. This celebration of diversity extends beyond a respect for differences in learning styles and academic abilities. The norm is that there is no norm. As a result, boys and girls are both freed from cultural expectations for their gender. My son is flourishing in a classroom where he can simply be himself.” — D.S.
“Parents who haven’t had their own experience with multi-age may think only of their own childhood experience of having single-grade classrooms, with a different teacher every year. But to the children, multi-age is so natural. Same age is not real.” — K.L.