The Roots and Branches School utilizes mixed-grade classrooms to support children in developing at their own pace. By spending two years with the same teacher and many of the same students, children build a strong sense of community and belonging, with a reduced focus on competition and comparison. Children have increased opportunities to learn and teach in collaboration with their peers, deepening their understanding of a topic by experiencing it from several perspectives. As students individually develop on their own trajectories, they can move forward with encouragement, comfort in a familiar environment, and a personal sense of success.
In our opening year, our goal is to have one or two mixed-grade classes of kindergarten and first grade students. We will add on more grades each year, continuing to have mixed-age classes for second and third grade, and for fourth and fifth. These vertically grouped classes support strong relationships between teachers, families, and classmates.
Our target class size will be in the range of 15-20 students (depending on enrollment), with one lead teacher per class, and one supporting teacher shared between two classes. In our first year or two, classes may be smaller.
Students who are entering elementary school at age 6 will join the K-1 classroom. We can discuss over the course of the year whether they would benefit from two years in that environment, or are ready to move on to second grade after a single year.