Multi-age classrooms are so important to a child’s growth and development. It is often questioned by parents and educators if it is more beneficial to have a multi-age classroom versus a traditional age/grade classroom. There have been extensive studies supporting multi-age classrooms for innumerable reasons which include, but are not limited to: Learning at their own pace, thriving in an atmosphere dedicated to their needs, being viewed as an exclusive individual rather than grouped within a classroom of “age-appropriate” teachings, and increased confidence.
One of the biggest advantages for students of multi-age classrooms is learning at their own pace. Kiddos are not held to a strict curriculum that may be too advanced or too underneath them in learning. They will remain on their continuous role of learning rather than a broader agenda attaining to a larger group of students. This will always benefit the child since their instruction is customized to their specific stage of learning.
Will younger children be intimidated by older children? Will older children not grow as quickly by having younger children beside them? Another great advantage of the multi-age classroom is that both older and younger children will thrive in this atmosphere. When younger children have the opportunity to work with older kiddos in a relaxed and safe environment, they form a trust, which can then lead to endless opportunities for learning. Older children are taking on leadership roles. They are forming a mentorship at such an early age that it can only help to grow their life skills while still successfully learning at an appropriate level.
Every single child within a multi-age classroom is viewed as an exclusive individual. As each child is focusing on their solitary strengths, educators will consistently monitor needs of the students and move forward with in-depth and complex open-ended activities. The advantage to this concept, is that the expectations of these children will not be closed to age-specific curriculums, thus potentially opening a child up to work at their own achievement level according to their ability rather than their age. Educators have the capability to work individually with students but also work in groups of children with similar abilities regardless of age. This gives children both individual and group time to grow.
Increased confidence comes with self-direction and achieving goals. Children in multi-age classes gain a sense of ownership with each achievement. There is no comparison with their peers because of their individual learning schedules, therefore creating a space of continued accomplishment. With continued progress a child becomes more positive and self-willing about school.
When analyzing the advantages of a multi-age classroom versus a standard age/grade classroom, it is easy to understand the reasoning why educators continue to advance towards this idea. Kiddos are at a great advantage for a multitude of learning experiences.