This year we are embarking on a new adventure, introducing a multi-age 3-4’s class into our offering. Our staff is very excited about this for several reasons. At this point, we are offering it for a Tuesday/Thursday group. We hope to be able to accommodate more three-year-olds at our school (typically that age has a wait list) and to explore the enriching experience this opportunity presents. Read on to learn about what the day will look like and why you might want to consider this for your child.
The 3-4’s class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am-12:15pm. Each session will have at least an hour of child-directed time and a large chunk of outdoor play time. In addition, children will participate in developmentally appropriate whole group and small group learning opportunities that are designed to challenge them and scaffold their growth in all developmental areas. Whole group learning activities will last 15-20 minutes and small group activities and rotations will usually last 20-30 minutes.
Throughout the day, children will be given many opportunities to work on social and emotional skills, taught using music and movement, given authentic opportunities to practice through play, and given invitations to try something new or expand on a skill they are developing. In addition, all of our preschool classes are taught using an emergent curriculum. This means that the content of the curriculum is based on the state standards, but how the material is taught changes depending on the needs of the class. For example, one standard for 4-year-olds is that students will be able to recognize the letters in their own name. In the 3-4’s class, this standard might be addressed during child-directed time, when the teacher can work one-on-one with each child. Some children will be working on recognizing their name and writing the first letter, others will be working on writing their first name, and still others might be working on writing their first and last names.
Multi-age classes offer many benefits for students:
- Multi-age classes allow students to work at a variety of levels. Older students “teach back” to younger students. When students become the teacher they cement their knowledge, allowing for a firmer understanding of concepts. Older students also have more opportunities to act as leaders and teachers. Younger students have models that encourage them to grow to new levels.
- Families, playdates, parties, churches, and playgrounds are all multi-age. Multi-age classes allow for more opportunities for cooperative play and give children many opportunities to practice the important social skills that we utilize every day.
- We acknowledge the inherent value of having a variety of parents in our classrooms. Each adult in the class brings their own strengths and knowledge into the classroom. In the same way, each child brings their own strengths and knowledge into the classroom. A multiage classroom can make learning more authentic and meaningful as students interact with a wider variety of people.
- Finally, the 3 year olds who are able to continue in the multi-age class for a second year reap the biggest benefits. They come into class during their second year already knowing the routine, the schedule, and the teacher. The teacher already knows the student and is able to continue setting appropriate goals for that student right away.
Still want to know more? Here are some great resources regarding multi-age classes:
- The Multi-age Concept Explained
- Mixed-Age Groups in Early Childhood Education
- Mixed-Age Groupings: What does the Research Say, and How can Parents Use This Information?
Still have questions? Comment below or contact our school at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-656-6600.