Understanding Multiage Education  book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Multiage Education

ISBN 9780367197780
Published May 9, 2019 by Routledge
310 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Presenting a compelling case for changing our system of education from a graded, curriculum-centered approach to a multiage, child-centered approach, Understanding Multiage Education is a comprehensive exploration of the philosophy and foundations of multiage education.

Veteran educators Stone and Burriss examine the "why" of multiage education, exploring how multiage classrooms' structure, environment, strategies, and assessments unfold and complement the multiage philosophy and pedagogy. Delineating the differences between a standard and a mixed-age approach, each chapter features Inside Insights, short vignettes, case studies, examples of multiage in practice and discussion questions challenging readers to engage with the core concepts and examine how we might define success in a multiage classroom.

Designed for graduate-level students of early childhood, elementary, and general education courses, as well as experienced practitioners, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in understanding the rationale, implementation, and benefits of multiage education.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

System: Graded or Multiage Education?

Inside Insights 1.1: The Pedagogy of Multiage Education

1.2: Montessori: A Different Path and Approach

Chapter 2

Benefits: Why Multiage Education?

Inside Insights 2.1: A Multiage Family: Diverse Community of Learners

2.2: Crisis in Creativity

Chapter 3

Structure: Is It a Multiage or Combination Class?

Inside Insight 3.1: Specialists in Multiage Schools: Experiences of Art Educators

Chapter 4

Learning: Strategies Versus Lesson Plans?

Inside Insight 4.1: Young Social Scientists

Chapter 5

Learning: Goals Versus Objectives?

Inside Insight 5.1: Multiage Inquiry Science Project in Finland

Chapter 6

Role of the Teacher: Facilitator or Instructor?

Inside Insight 6.1: Can We Build a Worm Center?

Chapter 7

Curriculum: Are Mixed-age Groupings Too Diverse to Teach Effectively?

Inside Insight 7.1: Middle School Multiage Projects

Chapter 8

Assessment: What Is Appropriate?

Inside Insight 8.1: Technology, Learning, and Community

Chapter 9

Standards: Is There a Conflict?

Inside Insight 9.1: Neoliberal Thinking, Teachers’ Instruction, and Children’s Learning

Chapter 10

Self-Contained or Team Teaching? Which Classroom Structure Is Best for Children?

Inside Insight 10.1: Bullying: Less Likely in a Multiage Setting

Chapter 11

Mixed-age Grouping: Is It Really Important?

Inside Insights 11.1: The Value of Mixed-age Play

11:2: Mixed-age Children Digging Holes Outside

Chapter 12

Classroom Space: "Curriculum Tasks" or "Learning Environment?"

Inside Insights 12.1: Designing Spaces for Children to Thrive

12.2: Let’s Go Outdoors: A Learning Opportunity

12.3: Bilingual Projects in a Primary Multiage Classroom in Japan

Chapter 13

Defining Success: What Do We Really Want for Our Children?

Inside Insight 13.1: Multiage Classrooms: Responsive and Inclusive Learning Communities

Chapter 14

Change: Why Is It So Difficult?

Inside Insight 14.1: The Long and Winding Road to Multiage Classrooms

Inside Insight 14.2: The Folly of Homework: A Parent’s View

Chapter 15

Change: What Are the Possibilities?

Inside Insight 15.1: Beyond Measure

Chapter 16

The Vision: The Future of Multiage Education

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Sandra J. Stone is Professor Emeritus and founder of the National Multiage Institute at Northern Arizona University, USA.

Kathleen G. Burriss is Professor at Middle Tennessee State University, USA.


"This is a brilliant book that makes the important case for the fostering of multiage education. Thoughtfully written, well-researched, insightful, practical, and making clear the dialectical interweaving of theory and practice, Stone and Burriss provide a text that will be enormously useful for teacher educators, practitioners, and policy-makers. In short, this book will stand out as the go-to-text in the growing multiage education literature."— James D. Kirylo, University of South Carolina, USA

"The authors give a comprehensive and persuasive argument for changing both the philosophy and practice of the present American schools to their preferred model of multiage education. They compare multiage education practice and results to presently pervasive educational models (graded Skinnerian-influenced and Montessori influenced) and give many examples of ways that well-designed multiage education can be effective for children at all educational age levels. Their ideas suggest perspectives on how to foster better educational experiences in these challenging times."Doris Bergen, Miami University, USA

"Stone and Burriss have written the quintessential guide to multiage education; showing that this concept means so much more than simply having a mix of grade levels in the same classroom.  Rather, the authors situate multiage learning as part of a broader framework for a sound, compassionate, and highly effective form of education for young children. Bold and persuasive, this highly recommended text is sure to inform and inspire—and is just what is needed in today’s educational environment." Patricia A. Crawford, University of Pittsburgh, USA

"Stone and Burriss present compelling evidence for multiage education to become the shared vision of educators, parents, policy makers – everyone who cares about children. This important book is a must-read call to action to join those schools already transformed and thriving with the child-centered multiage approach. Readers come away informed, hopeful, and energized to take action to realize the promise of schools fit for all children to flourish."Katherine Becker, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada