Haines schoolAn overflowing Kindergarten class prompted Haines School administrators to move five Kindergarteners into the first grade classroom.

Assistant Principal Cheryl Stickler says there were 23 Kindergarteners enrolled, which is more than ideal in primary grades.

Stickler says administrators and teachers used screening to decide which students might do well in a classroom with older kids.

She says they selected five students and tested them again. About two weeks ago, the five children were moved into the first grade classroom with teacher Sophia Armstrong. That brings Armstrong’s class up to 19 students and the Kindergarten class, taught by Sue Ackerman, to 18 children.

Stickler says they didn’t choose students based on ‘smartness’ but on ‘early learning readiness.’ She says there is already a wide range of learning levels in Armstrong’s class, and that the Kindergarteners in the room are still learning Kindergarten curriculum.

For now, the plan is to keep the five younger children with the older group next year, in second grade, and then meld them back into their age-group in the third grade. Stickler says in the youngest grades, it’s important to keep class sizes low.

She says the Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers were all consulted in the decision.

Two weeks into the change, Stickler says it’s going well. She says they plan to keep ‘a really close eye’ on the students to make sure moving them into the older classroom is a good fit not just academically, but socially and emotionally.