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  • What is a microschool?
    The concept of a microschool is new to many people, but they are growing in popularity across the nation. Microschooling is the reinvention of the one-room school house, where class size is typically smaller than that in most schools (15 students or less in a classroom) and there are mixed-age level groupings.
  • How can one teacher teach multiple grade levels at the same time?
    For those of us who attended traditional classrooms growing up, this method of instruction often requires a shift of thinking. The One Size Fits All approach often seen in traditional school settings was created with the assumption that all students learn the same things at the same time and in the same way and assumes that a group of 20+ students of the same age are in the same place developmentally. Multi-age classrooms more closely model the world we live in and help children experience democracy firsthand. McFalls Academy is small on purpose so that we can provide students with a personalized education experience that they may not receive in a larger setting. We believe in a developmental, child-centered approach to engaging children in curriculum and authentic learning experiences. We all develop and learn at different paces.Teachers in a multi-age class are very aware of each student as an individual. At McFalls Academy, students are taught core reading and mathematics skills through small groups and one-on-one instruction. Learning groups are fluid and shift as student needs change. Students learn from the teacher as well as each other, and the teacher plans for, and expects different outcomes for each child based on their stage of development. Science and Social Studies topics are primarily taught whole group through unit studies and project based learning experiences that are hands-on and guided by student interests.
  • What does the research say about multi-age learning?
    Since our objective in school is to educate the whole child, a multi-age setting that capitalizes on social and academic benefits is preferable to a single-grade level that tends to hold a more narrow view of success. The research below highlights these benefits: Multi-age learning is not just limited to academic skills, but broadly engages each child’s intellect, intelligences, interests, and understandings of morality (DeVries & Zan, 2012; Katz, 2015; Noddings, 2010). Student attitudes toward learning, school, self-concept, and personal and social adjustment were higher in the students who had participated in combination and multi-age classes (Veenman, 1996). Mixed-age play is more creative and more imaginative, as well as more cooperative and less competitive (Gray, 2011). Younger children benefit from collaborative learning from older children, or experts, who model more sophisticated approaches to learning within authentic contexts such as projects (Kallery & Laupidou, 2016) and older children solidify mastery as they explain their approaches to younger children (Dowling, 2003; Roopnarine & Johnson, 1984). The broadening of the learning community enriches the learning experiences for all children in mixed-age settings (Doherty, 2012; Gray, 2011, 2013). Children challenge themselves to continue growing and learning as they have an innate drive to explore and learn (Curtis, 2017) and children see learning as “discovery, exploration, play, excitement, and joy” (Stone, 2004). Children in multi-age classrooms learn to become autonomous, self-directed learners (Gray, 2014, 2017; Stone, 2004).
  • How are the standards and curriculum met for all grade levels in a multi-age classroom?
    Multi-age education takes a different view of learning--one that focuses on the whole child and that follows a non-linear path. We view this learning path for each child as a unique continuum, one in which “each child, at their own pace, is learning to read, write, solve problems, think critically, socialize and grow emotionally, physically, and morally on their own continuum” (Stone, 2019). Our progress reports focus on this continuum. The teacher’s job in a multi-age classroom is to facilitate this journey and weave in the standards and curricular resources that can support them along the way. High standards are not equal to same standards.
  • Do you offer special services or behavioral support for students with special needs?
    As a small school with just two teachers, we are not able to offer special services for severe learning disabilities, behavioral challenges or certain other student support needs. We will determine our ability to serve students on an individual basis.
  • Will my older child be expected to “teach” the younger children?
    As with any classroom, the responsibility of teaching rests with the teachers, but older students naturally want to help younger students and frequently do so. Research has shown that when students teach information and skills to their classmates, their academic performance improves. They reinforce their own knowledge and skills, which in turn builds their self-confidence and self-esteem and they come to a better understanding of the subject matter.
  • How do I know if my educational goals for my children align with McFalls Academy?
    McFalls Academy is designed for families who: Desire a small, homeschool-like setting. Are comfortable with mixed-age grouping. Value personalized and student-led learning. Value education as a life-long process and not a destination or letter grade. Prefer hands-on learning experiences over memorization and standardized learning. Are open to non-traditional ways of learning.
  • Are students assigned homework?
    Students are not sent home with packets or worksheets to complete and return. There are projects that are assigned periodically as a way to involve parents in the learning process and provide students with another avenue to experience real world application of the topics being learned in class.
  • How will feedback work without traditional report cards?
    A typical report card with letter grades does not align with the style of learning that we expect or want to happen at McFalls Academy. However, we do value feedback and reporting that guide the teacher as well as inform the parents. We want to ensure we are nurturing a love for learning in students without the unnecessary pressures of traditional letter grades or standardized assessments. Our report cards measure student progress on individual, specific skills providing more specific information than a simple letter grade provides. Our report cards also include a detailed narrative describing each student from their personality/temperament to strengths, learning goals and social/emotional development.
  • Do you provide transportation for students?
    No, we do not provide transportation. All parents/guardians are responsible for transporting their students to and from school.
  • Do you have payment plans available?
    Yes. We offer a variety of payment plans to suit the needs of each family. Parents/guardians may choose between 12 month installments and 10 month installments. Parents/guardians may also decide whether they would like to pay monthly or biweekly.
  • Do you provide sibling discounts?
    Yes. Each additional child enrolled receives tuition at 20% off. Please see the “Tuition & Fees” tab for more information.
  • What are your school hours?
    School hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Student drop off begins at 8:00 a.m. and afternoon dismissal runs through 3:45 p.m.
  • What ages/grades of students do you accept?
    We accept students between the ages of 5-10 years old which is the equivalence of K-5th Grade.
  • Where are you located?
    We are located inside of Sojourn Church Carlisle [Car-lie-ul] which is in South Louisville (less than 5 minutes from Churchill Downs). Our address is 3548 Taylor Boulevard, Louisville, KY 40215.
  • Do you provide before and after school care?
    No, we do not provide before and after school care at this time, but will update this site if this changes.
  • Do you provide extracurricular activities?
    No, we do not provide extracurricular activities.
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