Why multi-grades?

Immanuel Lutheran School uses a multi-graded system in its school. For most families, multi-grade classrooms are a new method, and can seem difficult to understand. Multi-grade classrooms provide many benefits for our students, teachers, and families. Here are a list of benefits:

  • Affective growth-needs are better met when placed in this environment.
  • Better attitude toward school.
  • Better self-concept, feelings of success, perceptions of parent approval.
  • Benefit of lengthened teacher-child relationships.
  • Children of any age feel comfortable giving help in areas in which they have expertise to children of any age in the classroom.
  • Children of one age do not dominate the teacher’s attention.
  • Younger children in multi-age groups strive to attain the academic levels they see the older children actually achieving.
  • Benefit to slow learners.
  • One large family growing together.
  • Far more subject matter to capture the imagination and interest of children.
  • Children have the benefit of hearing again what was taught to them in previous grades (incidental learning).
  • Positive effects on social behavior:
    • Increased ability and security.
    • Increased socialization skills.
    • Mutual aid given to one another.
    • Leadership skills.
    • Role modeling.
    • Cross-age verbal and non-verbal interactions.
    • Cross-age tutoring. 
  • In the area of achievement:
    • Usually the thought is that achievement will decline BUT…
    • The lower grade level in a multi-graded classroom achieves above its grade level in academics.
    • There is benefit to children with special needs.
    • Children listen and absorb knowledge which they may never hear in a single grade classroom.
    • Children listen and absorb knowledge that interests them and prepares them for what lies ahead.
    • Children have the benefit of hearing again what had been previously taught to them in previous grades.

Dr. Cynthia Whaley, MLC, 1992