Aurora’s classes are multi-graded. That means that our Kindergarteners and 1st graders share a classroom as do our 2nd and 3rd graders and also our 4th and 5th graders. Each year half of the students are new to the room and half are veterans. The older students serve as mentors and helpers to show their new classmates the classroom culture-its routines, rules and set up. This is in keeping with our philosophy of peer coaching and group responsibility. There are so many reasons to love Aurora’s multi-graded classrooms:
Same Teacher for Two Years
Your child has the same teacher for two years. This allows the teacher to get to know a child’s learning style, figure out how to support him/her and to develop strategies that work best for each child. Then, they have another year together, to build on that strong foundation of trust and understanding. Parents also enjoy the benefits of working with the same teacher for two years.
When your child is in the younger grade level in their classroom, they have the support of the students in the upper grade to teach them (academically), lead them (emotionally) and show them (socially) how to be successful. When your child is in the upper grade level in their classroom, they are able to solidify what they know academically by teaching it to someone else, mature socially by being asked to lead and set an example and expand emotionally by being able to be reflective of their own growth.
Broad Range of Learning
Aurora’s multi-graded classrooms offer a wide range of learning opportunities for our students. This allows teachers to meet their students where they are and to challenge them along their own continuum. A Kindergarten student may be a strong reader. In her case, she will have other students (first graders) also reading at a first grade level or perhaps even a second grade level. For her, the door is open and she can move forward in her reading at her own rate and never be held back by grade level. More importantly, her inspiration is coming from her peers and her own desire to read. On the other side, each student also has areas that are challenging for them where they may need more time and more support to become fluent. Our multi graded classrooms allow this gift of time.
Perhaps the best part of being multi graded is the impact it has on our community socially. Because of the multi grades, everyone knows everyone at Aurora School. Every fall we start the year with a new social pool in each classroom where half the class is new and half the class is returning. This breaks up any social dynamics from the previous year and allows the classroom community to form anew. Like at a single graded school, your child will have friends at their grade level, but at Aurora they will also have friends who are a year older, followed by a year of being with students who are a year younger. You can’t change your birth order in your family but at Aurora oldest children, get to experience having mentors and youngest children get to be role models. “Only children” get to experience the pros and cons of having siblings.