Open to Collaboration - Multi-Age Classes and Mentoring

Through multi-age classrooms and whole-school activities, Open Classroom students collaborate with same-age and mixed-age peers to accomplish tasks and engage in learning experiences together. 

Mentoring and Teamwork

Through mentoring, upper grade students gain confidence, skills and responsibility as they work with younger children. They learn to practice patience and understanding through cooperative, structured activities. Younger students develop relationships with older students, who serve as role models and challenge younger students to try something that might initially seem difficult without help. Teachers develop activities and experiences to incorporate this type of mentoring into their daily plans.

Fun Fridays and Events

In the six weeks leading up to Fall Festival in the fall and to Stepping Up in the spring, all Open Classroom students participate in multi-age groups each week on Fun Fridays. Together with peers and mentors, they prepare for these two whole-school events with activities that relate to its theme. These Fun Fridays are a highlight of the Open Classroom experience for the students and give them opportunities for mentoring and teamwork.

Individualized Learning

With multi-age classes, teachers can differentiate in the classroom so that each child is progressing and being challenged individually. The students are grouped by level within the two grades--K/1, 2/3 or 4/5--represented in the classroom. Our parent volunteers are on hand to help make these smaller groups possible. The groups can be rotated throughout the day so that students at each level spend time with the teacher on activities designed for their readiness. This is a unique opportunity for our students and helps the teachers successfully meet each child's needs.

Peers and Buddies

With a wider range of ages and abilities in the classroom, students may meet their need for peers with a classmate that they associate with academically and another they associate with socially. In buddy time, younger students are paired with older mentors from other Open Classroom classes. With their buddies, the students learn to interact and become friends with kids of all ages, and develop relationships that may not occur otherwise. These connections also help them feel more comfortable handling situations within the learning environment.