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Treehouse

Teacher: Josanne van der Wilk

Lisa became interested in the idea of experimenting with  a “looping class” after doing research on Finland's educational system several years ago.  Many educators and administrators in Finland attribute the success of their educational program to the fact that students stay with the same teacher for several years.
    “Also called continuous learning, multiyear placement, or family-style learning, looping -- in which the same teacher remains with a group of students for two or more years -- is a concept as old as the one-room schoolhouse. And yet, the practice has a solid place in the 21st-century classroom because looping has been known to strengthen student-teacher bonds, improve test scores, expand time for instruction, increase parent participation, and reduce behavioral problems and placements in special education programs.”
    Treehouse class (Linscott's first experimental “looping class”) began in 2011, when the current Treehouse students were in Kindergarten.  They are thriving in Second Grade this year, reading as many books as they can get their hands on and writing stories that are more engaging and imaginative than Lisa ever dreamed possible for Second Grade students!
 
What are the pros of looping?

* Studies show that students are more willing to take risks and "think outside the box" when they have done looping.
* Less review at the beginning of the year which means about one more month of actual instruction in new material.
* Students have less anxiety in a new school year because they are familiar with the teacher, the teacher's expectations and the other students in the class. This takes the fear out of the first day of school.
* Studies show that students in looping classes scored substantially higher on Standardized Tests of reading and mathematics than did students in regular classes.  (Rappa, Julia Steiny 1997,  Cistone and Shneyderman 2004, Elliott & Capp, 2003. Rodriguez & Arenz, 2007. Burke 1997.)
* Learning can be more personalized because the teacher has more time to get familiar with the student and to work with him/her.
* There is a great continuity from one year to the next or subject to subject because the student and teacher are familiar with each the pattern and learning styles.
* Gives the student a chance to have stronger relationships with the teacher as well as other students.
* Teachers know better how to design the following year's curriculum based on their knowledge of the student, their needs and their learning styles.
* Special needs students get more time with the teacher.
* Statistics show that there were fewer absences and less disciplinary action necessary when students had been in the looping process.


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