Note for Parents:
Understanding the Multi-Grade Class
- Most of us today are accustomed to a classroom of students who are all in the same grade. This is called a single-grade classroom. When a teacher teaches a classroom of students of different ages and grade levels, this is called a multi-grade classroom.
- One-third of all Irish children are taught in multi-grade classes
- The pupil/teacher ratio is set out by the Dept of Education and Skills and as the total number of pupils in our school falls below the threshold of 201 pupils, this only allows us 7 class teachers. Thus, a multi grade situation arises for the coming academic year.
- Multi-grade classes are created for the duration of the school year.
Rewards of Multi-grade Classes
- Multi-grade classroom can offer benefits not easily replicated in a single-grade classroom.
- Younger children learn a lot from older ones even without it being planned.
- Older children get constant reinforcement of what they have learned in previous year(s).
- Children become independent learners by the nature of the classroom needs.
- Co-operative discipline evolves though necessity as children learn personal and group responsibility from early on.
- Children’s social skills mature earlier in multi-grade classes.
- The multi-grade classroom, by its very make up, is more receptive and suitable to the essential tenets of the ‘new curriculum’, i.e. child centred, activity based, discovery methods, group work, thematic approach, integrated curriculum etc.
- The multi-grade classroom is a natural extension from the child’s experience at home – multiple ages, needs and abilities.