Our first week back at school was like everyone elses, I imagine…hectic! Getting back into routine after summer – kids up earlier, lunches packed and out the door on time (well, most days).
I’m not sure what it’s like at other schools, but at ours, kids don’t find out what class they are in until the end of the first week of school. It seems like the process is shrouded in secrecy. Well, it did, until I went and spoke to our principal. She explained how administrative (i.e. teacher) and classroom (i.e. students) allocations are done. It sounds like a complex and convoluted process…particularly in our public system where in some schools enrollments are down while others burst at the seams.
Apparently, because the way the chips fell at our school, every class from Grade 2 up is a split class (there is one straight Grade 2 class and two 2/3 splits). Split classes are classes made up of two grade levels. It’s just the way the numbers work, the principal told me. I have no experience with split classes as I went to a small elementary school where there was just one class for each grade…so I obviously wanted to know how this would affect my kid’s year.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about my little girl being in a 2/3 split class. She’s a great learner but can be very cautious and takes her time. I was worried that being in a class with older kids might feel like a lot of pressure for her. On the flip side, I thought she might benefit from being in a classroom where older students might be models for her – demonstrating what success looks like once she grasped the subject material. In the end, however, I was not keen on the idea. I didn’t see how a teacher could teach two curriculums (particularly when this is the first time I know of there being a spit class in these grades at this school) – how would she be prepared with such short notice?
In the end, it turned out that my daughter is actually in the only straight grade 2 class….but it is inevitable that we will have a split class at one stage or another.
We love our neighbourhood school, but I’m concerned about this change towards all grade levels becoming split. Am I right to be a little worried or am I just overthinking it? I know it works in some situations (e.g. where multi-age teaching a school philosophy), however, in situations where it’s an administrative shuffling game, I’m not sure I’m convinced.
What are your thoughts on class composition and split classes?by