The benefits of a multigrade classroom

Kirsten Connor helping a young friend to organise his blocks and count them

At Salisbury House we learn in a multigrade classroom. 

This means that children of different grades and ages learn in the same space together. While there are pros and cons to any classroom set-up, we have seen some wonderful learning opportunities being taken by the children in our current environment. 

In our classroom we all do our subjects simultaneously, but the level of difficulty is adjusted to each child’s needs. We follow the Number Sense mathematics programme by Brombacher, and all students do a task from the geometry book. Here is an example of one of our lessons:

The first part of the exercise required students to cut out templates and assemble three boxes of different dimensions — the older children worked quickly and finished this task. They then offered their help to the younger children, or those who were struggling. This happened naturally, without any prompting from the teacher. When every child was ready, we had a discussion about which box they thought would hold the most blocks. The children discussed this among themselves and wrote down their guesses. They then had to actually fill the boxes with the blocks and see if they were correct. The quicker students finished their work and then assisted the other students, helping them to count once they got to higher number ranges. 

We also discussed methods of counting e.g. the benefit of counting the blocks in groups of ten versus counting in ones. Although some younger children found counting challenging, they were able to share clever strategies with the older and quicker children. The estimation process also showed the children that it was not always the oldest or fastest children who estimated correctly!

Visit the Salisbury House website or email for more information.

• Published in the September 2022 Rosh Hashanah Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

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