Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The composite class

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School started back on Monday. Nugget has progressed to first grade. If all of the school years go as quickly as kindergarten did, we will be celebrating his high-school graduation in no time!

Our school wasn't 100% sure of the number of children it was expecting at the end of last year and warned us that the kids wouldn't be put into their classes until a day or two into term. Day one went by and they stuck to their old classes and Nugget thought that was just great.

Nugget came home from school today to reveal that he has been placed in a K/1 composite class.

It was my biggest dread. We were told last year that there was a good chance that they would create 2 kindy classes, 2 first grade classes and a composite class. I thought to myself at the time that I hoped Nugget wouldn't be in the K/1 class. But alas, he is.

I don't know how they choose who goes in to a mixed class and who doesn't (maybe one of the many 'teacher bloggers' around the place could help me out with this?).

I hoped Nugget would be spared because he is so young (probably younger than some of the Kindies in his class).

I hoped Nugget would not be included because he had such a fine start to school that I didn't really want first grade to be tricky or for him to 'get lost' if he is struggling.

I hoped Nugget wouldn't be in K/1 because he is a quiet, reserved boy and I am afraid he won't speak up.

I hoped Nugget wouldn't go into the composite class because there is a smaller cohort of children for him to befriend and I don't want him to be an 'outsider' in his own school grade.

Life never goes to plan as you hope, does it?

Have you experienced the 'composite' class with your children? What are your thoughts? Please tell...


Lucy said...

Olivia was placed into a composite class last year. She spent only a very short time in Reception (SA eqivilent to a K class) and as the new accademtic year began she was plunged into a composite year 1/2.

On every level I was terrified for her.

BUT, I had to let it go and keep all my fretting to myself (lest I infect her with all the worry too).

Despite all my fears (all along the same lines as yours) she blossomed. Totally blossomed. Her teacher was brilliant and her reading went through the roof.

The social side of things was harder for a short while, but I realise now that those difficulties have actually helped her to become beautifully self conficent and composed.

I could go on for ages about it.

But it DID all work itself out. The fears were entriely mine, not hers...

Salamander said...

As a mummy, I totally agree with your worries, and am sending hugs!

As a teacher, I want to allay your fears. Regardless of a class being composite or 'straight', the range of abilities in each group of children is enormous. Every year, a teacher must assess the ability level of each child and teach accordingly - so Nugget will not be lost in the group, I promise you (as long as his teacher is doing her job, which I'm sure she is!!)In fact, you'll probably find that he'll have opportunities to be challenged, more so than if he was in a straight grade.

I agree with Lucy - socially, it can be a bit more tricky to begin with. But you'll find recess is what matters (socially, anyway!), and during class time he'll find his niche.

Looking forward to hearing about Nugget's successes in Grade 1!! xxx

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

We are fortunate that the classes are single stream up until year 5, then it's a 5/6 class. Our biggest problem at our school is that pretty much all the boys have left by Year 5, so there's a certain sense of urgency in getting them a spot somewhere else then! (I certainly wouldn't want my son to be the only boy or the 1 of only a few boys left).

However, I've heard some say the composite class can be a good thing. I don't know. If I were you, I'd just keep on top of things (& I'm sure you already are), and make an appt to see the teacher at Week 3 to see how he has settled in. Then another follow up in Week 6 to make sure he's on track. Year 1 is a big step up from Kindy, but with your support, I'm sure he'll do well!


DancingInTheRain said...

Nugget will do great but I understand the apprehension. I thought they only put the good, smart, amazing kids who have equally amazing Mums in composites so it is a compliment to Nugget to be put there!!

Cate said...

Composite classes can actually be a blessing for both the older and the younger kids. For the younger kids, of course, there is the acadmic and social challenge of keeping up. But for the older kids there is the wonderful oppurtunity of being a role model. This can be a fantastic experience in terms of building their self esteem and maturity.
All good teachers will plan programs which cater to the variety of different needs of students in any type of class.
So I wouldn't worry. At least not at first. Let it go and watch. You can always worry later if you want to :-)

Curvaceous Queen said...

When I went through Primary School (at a very small school) every class I was in was a composite class. I found it a really positive thing. I was in the younger half always and it really challenged me.

Both of my older boys had one year in a composite class and they both had a great year.

They still have opportunities to interact with the rest of their grade on a regular basis.

x0xJ said...

Zero experience here as i'm a first day school mother, but it is one of my fears also.
Master B is young, like turns 5 in June young, but just so so bright, scarily so, his school interview yesterday that was supposed to take an hour, he flew through in less than 20mins and the Kindy co-ordinator gushed at how bright he is and how he was doing things she didn't even ask of him. I worry teachers will look at my son and say "Oh he's young, just put him with the younger kids" and they won't look at what's best for him.

I was told that with composite classes they tend to look for a group of kids that click together and do it that way, not on acedemics, so say they needed 5 kids for a composite they'd do them 5 boys or 5 girls, just the one gender you know?
Idk how much of that is true though and i'd LOVE to hear what teachers have to say about this and what we can do for our youngin's. I know personally in out situation Master B is a very social child and actually handles his emotions really well, however he can be easily influenced and if he's around kids that are mucking around and not doing the right thing...well he's tend to head in that direction too, so that worries me completely.

Goodluck with Nugget, and if you're not happy and you think it's affecting his education SPEAK UP. It cannot hurt, they will listen and if they still feel they're right they will reassure you and explain it, or they may make some changes? GOODLUCK!

Maxabella said...

All you can really do is keep an eye on things (which you would be doing whatever the class!). I think a good teacher teaches to the individual anyway, so he will not be lost. In a funny way, it might be good for him to be in with 'kids his own age'... good for confidence, I think?

When I was in composite 3/4 with Miss Larsen, it was a really, really good year. I think it was the beginning of friend-wrangling as Tammy was in my class and we both went to her birthday party as I recall! x

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

It's so hard not to worry, isn't it? But no class is perfect, no matter what its set-up.

Just keep watching. That's all you can do for now.

Kylez..aka...Mrs.P! said...

I was in three composite classes in primary school, in year three I was in a 3/4, in yr 5 I was in a 5/6, and in year 6 I was in a 3/4/5/6 composite class with two teachers and I loved every one of them.

I really enjoyed the social interaction with kids from other years, meant there was always someone on the playground I could talk to, and I loved being in the composite in year 6 as we were mentors to the youngest kids and they really looked up to us, gave us a sense of responsibility.

That's just my experience, but most people I know who were in composite classes loved them and they were definitely more fun and challenging than the straight classes I was in.

I'm sure he'll do well no matter what though, with a Mum who cares as much as you!

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