The beginning of the school year is important in all classrooms. It is the time when student excitement and expectations are at their greatest. How the year begins sets the tone for everything that is to come.
In a multiage classroom there is a difference to this beginning because it is not truly a beginning at all, instead it is a continuation of the prior school years’ learning. For students returning from the previous year as “olders,” it is a time to renew friendships and to return to classroom routines as one returns to a favorite fishing hole or slips on a favorite sweater. For students new to the classroom it is a time of nervous excitement. If they have not been in a multiage classroom before, they wonder what it will be like to have “old kids” in the same room (they soon find that they are quickly welcomed by students who are eager to “show them the ropes”). For the teacher, it is also a time of nervous excitement. It is a joy to renew relationships with both returning students and their parents, and it is a time to welcome new students into the classroom family. Questions such as, “How will the new mix of children work?” “What new challenges will I have?” and “How will my new plans work?” all race through the teacher’s mind.