We are now a multi-age classroom, rather than just PreK. We are now a collection of three-, four-, and five-year-olds. I taught multi-age at the beginning of my career, and it did not feel like this. Perhaps I am blocking out some of my past experiences!
So much about our group is now on a larger spectrum: interests, physical needs, emotional responses, social behaviors, attention span, and language. Each part of the day needs to be thought about in a new light, I think. I'm beginning to think about differentiation strategies - for ESL students, for younger students, for older students, as well as for different styles of learning. Our classroom environment has to be re-evaluated. Some of the topics that are on my mind right now are:
- The need for quiet spaces and the need for very active spaces
- The activities we can share as a whole class and the activities that need to be in smaller groups and one-on-one settings
- How our days is balanced - everything from choice time to transitions to rest time to outdoor play
- Our classroom community and how we welcome younger children into our established community
- Following the interests of the children as we enter our new unit of inquiry
I am trying to mentally prepare myself for the bumps in the road that will inevitably be there as we become a true multi-age classroom. This has to be approached with open-mindedness, patience, and a lot of daily reflection.