Walden School: Teaching Children to Value and Respect Diversity
Multi-age learning is part of the overall approach to a Walden education. Most of the classes are multi-age, wherein WS place children who are more than one year apart in age into the same classroom. This purposeful configuration is based on the understanding that each child’s progress and growth is unique.
Benefits of a multi-age classroom include children having the opportunity to be role models, practice their skills by demonstrating them to other students, experience continuity from year to year by staying with the same teacher, work collaboratively and cooperatively in groups, and learn to respect their peers’ abilities within the wide spectrum of learners.
Although some years not every child will be placed in a multi-age classroom, all children will have experiences each year that carry the benefits of multi-age practices. Each classroom has a “buddy class” with whom they interact throughout the year. These buddy classes are deliberately set up to combine younger and older children. Picture-book reading, art projects, family-style meals and community-service activities are a few ways in which buddy classes interact.
One of the most important and exciting roles that Walden’s sixth graders take on is that of a mentor. Each sixth grader works closely with a different classroom at least once a week to share their skills and experiences. These sixth graders become members of their mentee classroom as if they were regular students.
Daily recess and snack times also provide moments where many different ages interact, sharing their interests.
Walden School, 74 S. San Gabriel Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 792-6166 or visit www.waldenschool.net.