Yes, Combine First and Second Grades

There’s no way to overestimate the value of a combined first and second grade class. There’s excellent modeling for first graders by second graders. Besides the higher level of achievement that was constantly displayed, the second graders passed on not only their knowledge but their good rapport and attitudes about learning. For second graders, there were constant opportunities to teach which could accelerate and reinforce their own learning. Whenever learning is taught, it is apt to become permanent. Of course, modeling and teaching were not limited just to the older students, for much could also permeate between and among both the first and second graders. For the first four or five years, I wondered why each class attained a higher level of achievement than the previous one. I concluded it was because of modeling and teaching. (After about five years, the achievement level seemed to stabilize. I believe most likely because there was a ceiling for cognitive development at this age. I don’t mean they didn’t continue to improve. They did. I mean the achievement level wasn’t higher than previous classes except for a few exceptional children.)

I taught the combined class for about 15 years before retiring and it was my favorite.  There was no way I ever wanted to return to a single grade class. An asset for the success may be that parents had to request the program or be willing to have their child in the combined graded class for two years. As a result, there was generally a common philosophy between home and school regarding the raising and teaching of children, and the parents were very supportive.

Learn about programs in a combined first and second grade class in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved