age gaps

just a few words about the difficulties inherent in teaching a class with a wide age spread. we’ve always advertised our class as open to kids from around five to ten years of age. for the first little while, that wasn’t a big problem; most of our kids ended up being around the same age—five to seven—with only a few outliers. Lately, however, we’ve been seeing a more diverse range of ages. At one of our latest classes, we had three distinct clumps of ages: 5-6, 7-8, and 10-11. Any teacher worth his or her salt knows (or so I’m told) that the needs and capacities of each of these groups is vastly different. When we plan a class, we plan specific activities that appeal mainly to our core group, which is, let’s say, around age seven. Unfortunately, we often see the older children sitting off to the side and getting bored because the material is too simple for them, while the younger children stare blankly and get bored because the material is too complicated for them. There doesn’t seem to be a simple solution to this problem besides splitting the class into different age groups. We’ve often raised this possibility for our class, but we’ve never done it simply because of logistical reasons (do we feel ready to run two or more classes simultaneously?)

I don’t have a conclusion to this post, since we’re still living with and dealing with this situation. Any comments or from experienced children’s class teachers out there would be greatly appreciated.

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One thought on “age gaps

  1. Dan I face this too, and am trying concepts of older ones mentoring and assisting younger ones, stories older ones can read and dramatise for younger ones. Getting the younger ones into an activity and leaving some time for a chat with the older ones !!! Let me know what you have tried too.

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