Elementary students experience exciting academic and social trajectories as they begin to see themselves in broader contexts.In kindergarten through fourth grade, teachers fire their students’ imagination, inspire both independent and collaborative growth, and celebrate achievements of all kinds. The result? Kids become more confident learners. Students begin to shift gently from understanding the concrete to the abstract, and they discover the ability to connect the two. As unique individuals, students are challenged to reach their potential—a school-wide commitment that applies to intellectual as well as social and emotional development.
The days are a little more structured in the elementary grades—to make sure we have time to tackle everything we want to do, while being able to embrace the built-in flexibility that allows us to go down a rabbit hole or two. Teachers and students work together to find ways to connect with classroom content, helping to make lessons meaningful and relevant in an ever-widening world.
The Multi-Grade Experience
The Lesley Ellis multi-grade classroom experience begins in first grade. Kindergartners continue to have a dedicated classroom, while subsequent grades are combined, giving first and second graders and third and fourth graders positive “two-year” experiences. By combining grades in this way, we remove the labels that restrict growth. Rather than teaching “1st” or “3rd graders,” we teach individuals and groups of students, supporting a fluid learning path that is less defined by age. With two teachers in each multi-grade classroom in the elementary grades, skills are taught within flexible groupings, while teachers strive to seamlessly meet the needs of each student within the community of learners. Students also benefit from the consistency of having the same teachers for two consecutive years—teachers who really know each student and become true partners in each child’s educational journey. Younger students have older role models while every other year students are the “big kids.” As such they become mentors and leaders with the opportunity to practice important developing social and emotional skills. Curriculum content is thoughtfully planned in two-year blocks; new topics are introduced each year and students view themselves as progressive, cooperative, successful learners.