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First and Second Grade Combined Classes

There was a time, not that long ago, when not only were two grades like first and second grades combined in a single classroom, but when all of the grades were contained within a single-room schoolhouse. Apart from being a matter of pure practicality for small communities with just a small number of students, combining classes posed some advantages for students, such as older and more advanced students being able to help the younger students. While the days of the one-room schoolhouse are gone, many schools are beginning to realize the advantages that can occur when classes that are close to one another, such as first and second grade, have combined classes. Still, there are disadvantages to combined first and second grade classes, and there are critics of the practice as well.

Combining first and second grade classes does have some advantages. For a child that is learning to read at a slower pace than his first-grade counterparts, for example, taking part in a combined first and second grade class may be just what the student needs, rather than being held back a grade. At the same time, if a particular second grader is especially advanced and not being challenged enough by the material that he is learning, the opportunity to help another student may help the advanced student to not only further master the material, but to be able to be challenged in the process.

On the other hand, first and second grade combined classes may have some disadvantages. There is always the possibility that the child who happens to be an especially slow learner may find that not only cannot he keep up with the rest of the combined class, but he cannot even get up to speed with help. At the same time, that advanced student who is attempting to help the other student may be learning much less than he is capable of, because instead of being introduced to new material to learn he is stuck working on material that he has already mastered with a less advanced child.

While first and second grade combined classes might not be the best fit for every student, some students may benefit from such a setting.

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