We believe in Multi-Age Groupings.
From the beginning, like Montessori, Kingfisher has always combined ages of children in each classroom. The younger kids learn from the older ones and the older ones learn that everyone has a contribution to bring to the classroom. Age segregation is a relatively new idea in education from the 20th century and many private and small schools have gone back to grouping several ages together because it works so well.
This doesn’t mean that everyone is on the same intellectual or grade level. In a combined class of 8’s and 9’s, the 8-year-olds are reading and doing math in the third grade books and the 9-year-olds are working on the fourth grade material. With small classrooms, it is easy for the teacher to group children appropriately. We might say, “Math time is beginning and I want to work with the orange book children at the table and the blue book children need to do the assignment on the board and then we’ll switch.” This doesn’t mean that all 9-year olds are in the fourth grade math book. More advanced students might be starting the fifth grade book and kids that are a bit behind might be working in the third grade book with a goal to reach grade level soon. Again, small class size facilitates individual planning and teaching.
We believe in Project-Based Learning.
That could mean really long range projects or short, two-week tasks. This is where we take from the Reggio Emila Approach. In the Reggio Emilia Approach many subjects can be taught through a well-thought out project and the children’s strongest interests can be honored and advanced.
Sometimes the subjects of Science and Social studies lend themselves to project work, but the project could encompass map skills, scientific principles, cultural studies, some math work and lots of reading and research. If we are studying Europe, we might create maps, pick out one country to focus on, measure the distance away they are from the U.S., cook some foods from one or more of the countries, visit a restaurant that serves European food, read some fairy tales from the European countries, and write up some of the research we did on the history of Europe. Projects link many types of subject matter together and often this type of work makes the entire subject more meaningful to the students.
We believe in nurturing the “Mulitple Intelligences“ of each student in order to faciltate maximum growth.
Some students at Kingfisher are very eloquent and can speak and write with great confidence. Some students are gifted at practical matters—organizing, leadership, and “getting things done”.
Every person at school has gifts and we strive to not only identify the gifts, but to help the bright kids learn to be beginners in new areas so they can expand outside their usual interests.