737 S. Carlin Springs Rd.
Arlington, VA 22204
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Sunday, July 05, 2015


Multi-Age Teams and Looping
Reading BuddiesCampbell classes are paired up to establish multi-age teams at the kindergarten and first grade levels. Students spend most of their academic time with same grade peers.  But they also have some social time with K/1 classmates.  In grades 2-5, students loop with their teachers, which means that a cohort of students stay together with the same teacher for two years.    
Both the multi-age and the looping models also allow children to be with the same teacher for two years. This allows teachers to get to know the personalities, needs and learning styles of each student and develop a strong relationship with the student and their parents. Children experience increased opportunities to lead and follow, collaborate, and make stable peer relationships. And because only about half the students are new each year at the K/1 level and students have the same teacher in grades 2-5, classes maintain consistent routines and require fewer year-to-year adjustments from children.
Developmentally Appropriate
Children do not develop in lockstep. Some have an easier time learning to read, while others are adept at social skills. A developmental approach accepts each child at the stage she or he is and respectfully encourages movement forward.
Team Teaching
Campbell is staffed with highly qualified education professionals who want to be part of a different approach to instruction. In many classrooms, you will see all students benefiting from the support of additional staff.   Reading teachers, special education teachers, ESOL teachers, assistants, and other specialists often “push in” to academic subjects to work with small groups of students.  Some students are "pulled out" to receive small group instruction with a reading specialists, ESOL/HILT teacher or special education teacher to receive targeted intervention on specific skills.  This helps to reduce the student to teacher ratio for all students.    
Specialists and support staff work with instructional teams to develop integrated curriculum units. Jointly they incorporate the fine arts,  music and literacy throughout the curriculum. They collaboratively modify the environment and adapt learning activities to facilitate the inclusion of gifted students, limited English proficient students, and students with disabilities.
Supporting Research

Campbell's multi-age program was developed with the following research findings in mind:

  • Multi-age groups are the natural order of the world. Separation into age groups is a system imposed by adults (Beatrice Whiting, 1963).
  • The quality of children's social competence accurately predicts academic as well as social competence in later grades (Jeffrey Parker and Steven Asher, 1987).
  • Multi-age cooperative groups promote thinking, learning, remembering, enjoyment, productivity, more time on task. Conflict and discussion result in deeper understandings, listening, expression, and synthesis (Johnson and Johnson, 1984; Johnson, 1991; Ames, 1992).
  • Children who assist or tutor another child increase the depth and organization of their knowledge (Bargh and Shul, 1980).
  • The most fruitful experience in a child's education is her collaboration with more experienced or skilled partners (Lev Vygotsky, 1978).
  • Younger children demonstrate more mature and cognitively complex play, more independence, and more complex speech when relating to older peers.
  • Older children paired with younger resulted in more complex modes of play, more complex and frequent social interactions to younger children than same age peers (Jane Golman, 1981; Nina Mounts and Jaipul Roopnarine, 1987; Carolee Howes and Joann Farver, 1987).
  • Interaction with younger children elicits greater rates of prosocial behaviors: practice in parenting, caretaking, and altruism.
  • Children experience greater isolation in same-age rather than multi-age classrooms (Joseph Adams, 1953; John Zerby, 1961).
  • When classrooms are made up of children who are highly similar to one another, there are more social "stars" but also more children who are rejected and/or neglected by their peers (Susan Rosenholtz and Carl Simpson, 1984).
  • Leadership behavior of older children in mixed-age groups was facilitative rather than dominating and bullying (Anne Stright and Doran French, 1988).
  • Children who are shy or withdrawn made significant and lasting increases in prosocial behavior when paired with younger children (Furman, Rahe, and Hartup, 1979).
  • To be low child in the pecking order in a multiage group may be uncomfortable, but a child knows that in two or three years her place in the hierarchy will change.
  • Children in a same-age class may be more likely to regard their status as a stable reflection of their worth and acceptance (Penelle Chase and Jane Doan, 1994).
  • Traditional, graded programs resemble a "factory" model of education. Children are treated as objects that, when subjected to uniform treatment, will yield uniform results (Lillian Katz, 1993).

Last Modified on April 15, 2014