The Village: Cross-Age Learning in Community

img_9265.jpgWalk into a traditional elementary school in the U.S.A. and you’ll likely encounter a 1st grade hall, a 2nd grade hall, a 3rd grade hall…you get the idea. Students sorted by grades and, it follows, by age. But why? Historically, were grade level corridors more efficient?  Was there a research base that testified to the validity of this model? Or has an American educational system handed this structure down, merely because “this is the way we’ve always done things”?

In May 2017, a group of innovative-thinking 2nd grade teachers at Hoosier Road Elementary (all housed in the 2nd grade hallway, btw) wanted to build connections among students to foster caring and learning together. What new approach, these colleagues wondered, might be more conducive to the type of learning community theyIMG_9213 envisioned?

In August 2017, The Village was born. The prior second grade hall is now a multi-age learning community, composed of one classroom for each grade level. Enacting this vision meant that several of these former 2nd grade teachers are now teaching new grades – a bit challenging, but totally worth it, the colleagues say. In The Village, students still spend time primarily with their grade level teachers, but time each day is reserved for cross-classroom activities. And Village classrooms all share a common lunch/recess period.

From the teachers:

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In talking with Village teachers and students recently, it was clear that this cross-age experiment has been a success. Students work together on projects, share study trips, and learn together. The children have made new friends, and look out for one another. The Village has indeed grown into the authentic learning community envisioned by the teachers.

The scrolling Sway presentation below (and linked HERE) was created by the five teachers, Mrs. Sergi (K), Mrs Gue (1), Mrs Loftus (2), Mrs. Ceglio (3), and Mrs. May (4), to highlight some of the many collaborative experiences that Village teachers and students have shared throughout the year. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Village: Cross-Age Learning in Community

  1. My 1st grader is in this program and has really enjoyed it. The teachers are fabulous and it has been a great way for her to learn to lead by helping kindergarteners and to be led by the older students. I hope that she gets to continue in it next year.

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    • Thanks for your comment! Parent voice and feedback is always crucial, but especially so during times of innovation! Glad your daughter has benefitted from The Village!

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  2. My son is in Kindergarten in the village and it has been an amazing year for him. This was just the type of environment that he needed to thrive and grow in. He has enjoyed making friends in other grades; and has so many opportunities because of being able to work with kids of different ages. I really hope this program continues; not only at HRE; but offered at other schools as well.

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    • Thank you for your feedback. To “thrive and grow” is what we seek for all of our students – two very important words! i’m going to make sure your feedback is shared with our Director of Elementary Ed and the leaders at HRE. I hope next year is a continued year to thrive and grow for your son. -Susan Drumm

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