Easing parent fears about a combo class

Discussion in 'Multiage' started by teacherCA, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. teacherCA

    teacherCA Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2011

    What do you say to parents to help ease their fears/concerns about their children being placed into a combination class?
    I teach a 4/5 and I have already been approached by a few nervous parents.
    I'd love to hear how you handle things.
    :)
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 5, 2011

    You can never fully alleviate all their fears, but I think the trick is to really know your material and at the beginning of the year, really get to know each child's strengths and weaknesses. Also, let the parent know that you value them as part of the team and invite them to write to you about their child.
     
  4. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Depending on the fear. If it's the younger student's parents afraid about their kids being with older kids, then advise them that the students will be encouraged to mix and once they get to know each other they will be fine.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 17, 2011

    I have no experience with a combo class, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But I think here's the way I would address those fears:

    1. The fears are valid.

    2. The kids will be from a wider range of ages. But that's pretty typical of most little league teams, and most neighborhood interaction. The kids aren't as set on ages as we adults are; they realize they all have a lot to contribute and learn from each other, regardless of who is a few months older than whom.

    3. The fact that the material is aimed at grades 4-5 actually makes it easier to differentiate material. A kid at the top of the 4th grade, or at the bottom of the 5th grade can move more seamlessly from one to the next. You can be doing 5th grade work in math and 4th grade work in English.
     
  6. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I agree the fears may be valid; but I would think telling the parents the fears are valid as the teacher of the class would be opening a huge can of worms. I agree about pointing out that naturally children are around a variety of ages in normal circumstances. I agree talking about having the grade level varieties would be useful; however I would not focus on the levels of the children-that was a big worry of a lot of the older parents families, they were worried it would label their child as low. My combo class is a wide range of mostly medium to high academic level children in both grades.

    When parents started asking me about the fears I talked about the fact that I have many years of differentiation in single grade classes-some years a far wider range than the range that is currently in the class. I also talked about what I planned on doing so the older children would not be simply doing something twice and the younger children would not be left behind. I also talked about how I would be differentiating. I also reassured them that I would be doing some second grade things and some first grade things so neither group would be left out. Once I had the system set to a point where I did not feel I need to rearrange it much I sent out a description of how the routine was set up.

    I also have some student's parents and the principal who I think worked hard to stop the complaining from the worried parents. Since the beginning of the year, I have heard almost no further complaints. I am very appreciative of it. I am a little paranoid of the conferences which will happen in three weeks.
     

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