WHAT THE RESEARCH TELLS US ABOUT MULTI-AGE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS:
- With regard to academic growth, the research is split. Some studies show considerable benefit. Others show none. No study has shown it to be a significant detriment.
- With regard to social and emotional growth, as well as children's attitudes toward school, the studies show consistently better outcomes for multi-age classrooms.
- Because child development resides on a continuum that is not delineated by age or grade, but by the acquisition of developmental competencies, teachers in multi-age classrooms tend to demonstrate greater sensitivity to developmentally appropriate practice and the individual needs of each student.
Because social and emotional growth is as important to KYLS as academic growth, because developmentally appropriate practice and treating each child as an individual is critical to the KYLS pedagogy, AND because we believe that the Jewish Day School world stands to benefit financially and pedagogically from a model of a full dual-curriculum multi-age classroom approach, it is something that we, at KYLS, are committed to creating.
Each child in KYLS is placed in a “Chevra,” a micro community of 10-12 friends with one designated teacher. Chevrot are made based on what the school believes will be a successful combination of children who can work and learn as part of a smaller community within our larger group.
Each Chevra meets 3 times a day, for approximately 10-20 minutes each time (depending on the meeting time and purpose). The purpose of these meetings is to teach social emotional skills, monitor progress, remind students of their schedules, and reflect on their day.
A child’s Chevra teacher:
- Oversees their students’ academic progress and work completion
- Oversees their students’ social, spiritual, and emotional progress
- Teaches specific social emotional skills
- Is the point person for the parents
- Meets with parents at all three conferences as representatives of our teaching team
- Conferences with the student multiple times during the year and is the point person for that student during his/her day
- Sets goals with the student and parents and monitor progress of their completion
The Chevra system has worked beautifully to date and has become a hallmark feature of the innovative, student-centered learning environment at Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School.