1) Review: Introduction, Description, Objectives, and Key Concepts of lesson
2) Complete: Activity 1: Distinguishing Features of Different levels of Education
3) Read: Material in Your Essential Library
5) Complete: Activity 2: Exploring Different Levels of Education
The first lesson in Strand One: Birth through Grade 12 as a Continuum and a Single System focuses broadly on the different levels of education. This strand it designed to provide students with an understanding of the various education levels, themselves, as well as the differences and similarities among them. By identifying and defining the features of different levels of education, Lesson 1.1 will build the conceptual base on which later lessons in this strand will build and expand. Use this lesson to begin Strand One and build understanding of the variability within different education levels, as well as their defining features. Subsequent lessons in this strand will draw on material presented in this lesson to examine in greater depth the relationships between and among regulatory systems governing (Lesson 1.2), ways in better integrate those systems into a continuum of education (Lesson 1.3), and strategies that will support smooth transitions throughout the learning continuum (Lesson 1.4).
This lesson introduces the different levels of education and helps students identify key similarities and differences among early childhood programs, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. This lesson begins Strand One: Birth through Grade 12 as a Continuum and a Single System by providing a foundation for understanding, comparing, and contrasting various levels of education. The information in Lesson 1.1 provides a solid conceptual base in the commonalities and distinctions between and among different education settings on which subsequent lessons in Strand One will build. This lesson lays the foundation for later lessons in Strand One by highlighting the points of commonality and shared experiences in the different levels of education and as they apply across the education continuum, as well as on the differences that impact our ability to create a cohesive, effective system.
LINC has provided a chart that summarizes the similarities and differences among different levels of education across a range of categories, including philosophy, funding, administrative structures, accountability, services, expectations, etc. This chart, called Distinguishing Features of Different Levels of Education serves as the content summary for this lesson.
The features associated with different levels of education vary considerably.
The different levels of education are quite distinct from each other and can vary widely in terms of their organization, expectations, and supports. These different levels of education (commonly: pre-Kindergarten, K-5/elementary schools, 6-8/middle schools, and 9-12/high schools) are characterized by differing philosophies, organization, curriculum and instruction, assessment, and language.
The differences between and among education levels can create a disjointed, conflicting, and confusing experience for children as they progress through their educational experiences.
Making transitions from one level of education to another can be a difficult experience for children, families, and schools due to the lack of continuity and consistency between education levels. For example, whereas early childhood education education experiences are child-centered, play-based, and informed by developmentally appropriate practice, elementary schools often abandon play-based and child-centered approaches and adopt more didactic classroom experiences. Attending to the ways different philosophical and practical approaches profoundly shaped children's educative experiences is an initial step that will enable leaders to mitigate these disruptions that can slow or halt educational progress.
Leaders must be familiar and collaborative with education levels beyond their own.
Effective leaders at any age/grade level need to have a solid understanding of the levels that precede and/or succeed their own. There are important points of commonality and shared experiences across the continuum, as well as marked differences that impact our ability to create a cohesive, effective system.
By identifying the different features and potential disjuncture between and among education levels, school leaders are poised to take powerful action to support their students' academic, social, and emotional growth.
Building familiarity with the features of the different levels of education will support work to create better vertical alignment among the education levels. This, in turn, will create more effective, consistent, and continuous learning experiences for children, thereby deepening opportunities for learning and growth from pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. Developing a deeper understanding of the distinguishing features of different levels of education will contribute to leaders' ability to create a better aligned learning continuum.
LINC has identified the following resources as the most essential current resources to help you inform yourself on this topic. You should peruse each of these resources prior to teaching this lesson. If you would like to complete additional research in this topic, there are optional resources in the Additional Resources for Further Study section.
To synthesize the material completed thus far in this lesson, consider the following through either small group discussion or individual writing response:
The pre-lesson activity should be completed prior to reading the material in Your Essential Library or participating in the discussion/writing response. It is designed to provide students with more detailed information on the similarities and differences between and among different levels of education.
Activity 2 : Exploring Different Levels of Education
The post-lesson activity is designed to help students grow their knowledge of all levels of education. It should be completed after the rest of the lesson has finished.