In April 2016, the elementary school reorganized to create three mixed grade neighborhoods: (1) Grade 1 & Grade 4; (2) Grade 2 & Grade 5; and (3) Grade 3 & Grade 6. Every class of older students is with a younger class, for example: 3A and 6A, 3B and 6B, and 3C and 6C.
Each of these neighborhoods will function as villages. Students will stay together with their teachers (not necessarily with the same homeroom teachers) for 3 years because we feel that they will grow and flourish in the context of close and dependable relationships.
In order for our students to achieve academic excellence, we have to support them in every domain of their personal development. Students need to feel safe, happy and a strong sense of belonging. They need opportunities to develop their social skills and self-confidence. Greater well-being and engagement will result in positive values, attitudes and behavior.
Children learn and develop their character within the context of what they experience in their daily interactions. We wish to ensure that these interactions are as positive as possible, and that the benefits of this reorganization are secured for every student. Parents have a role to play in making GKA a caring environment.
Research reports that mixed-age school communities provide unique psychological benefits, such as gains in student self-esteem and empathy, less social isolation and aggressive behavior. They allow older students to practice leadership and caring skills which will improve their self-regulatory behavior.
The reorganization is an attempt to transform our classrooms into learning communities, nurturing spaces, caring villages for developing a culture of character where respect, self- discipline and love for learning are among the virtues our students acquire in an organic manner.