This year, the Grade 6 class at Rowntree Montessori Schools partnered up with the Grade 1B class to participate in the Learning Buddies Programme. According to experts from www.edutopia.org from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, “Partnering with higher achieving peers can have a positive influence on a student’s learning, and students who are older, more capable readers can be these peers for young students.”
At the Academy Campus, this programme runs each Thursday, as Grade 6 students are paired with Grade 1 students, whether in the classroom or library, and together the students work through an educational reading activity. This programme initially began with the intention of being reading centered only, but when the teachers saw how well the two classes worked together, they decided to change to focus to learning in other areas as well. The activities each week may start with a reading exercise, but may also be combined with a larger themed activity, whether learning about personal identity, speech writing or even goal setting. The students often engage in activities based off of what events are happening in the school that week.
Here are some examples of activities that the students have completed:
- All About Me booklets
- Story writing
- Themed crafts
- Hour of Code
- Goal setting and New Years resolutions
- Speech writing
- Speech presentations
- Read aloud
Through these weekly peer interactions, the students have created meaningful relationships with children outside their grade levels. This has positively contributed to the social environment at RMS. The younger and older students get very excited when it is time for them to see their learning buddy outside of the regular Thursday morning schedule.