Multiage classrooms are, by design, more focused on projects and interdisciplinary learning than traditional, teacher-focused classrooms.
For that reason, they usually look different than traditional classrooms full of desks.
Furnishing a multiage classroom focuses on these priorities:
Flexibility. Tables and chairs, rather than individual student desks, are the norm—and they’re regularly rearranged to accommodate the different ways that students might work together.
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At Woodbrook Elementary School in Virginia, most of the furniture is on wheels to make movement easier. “Very little is permanent,” says Principal Lisa Molinaro.
Variety. Multiage classrooms invite collaboration and choice with a variety of seating options, such as beanbag chairs, balance balls, stools, comfortable floor mats and couches.
Comfort. A comfortable environment supports learning and mentoring. At Woodbrook, “we have a variety of seating options with lots of soft furniture, tons of natural light and many collaborative spaces,” Molinaro says.
Nancy Mann Jackson is an Alabama-based writer.