Multi-Age Grouped Classrooms – Good or Bad?
The research is mixed when looking at a mixed age grouping of preschool children. Both benefits and risks exist. Older children learn nurturing and leadership skills. They also resist age-discrimination behaviors. Younger children advance in communication, language, and inspiration to greater cognitive and motor skills.
With similar aged peers, children tend to remain very focused and intentional in their play. With a mixed-age group a wider range of variable interests exist, expanding opportunities for learning and exploration. Older children will learn to adapt their language levels to those of younger children. By doing so their skills do not diminish, rather they learn adaptations to others.
A successful teacher will provide learning experiences for all developmental ages and ranges of children, especially since even in similar aged groupings, children will have varying rates for learning and exhibit different intelligences and interests. Children are extremely resilient and adaptable by nature. In families, more often than not children are not born into similar age groupings, rather they are born from 1 to many years apart. There is merit to older children teaching younger children and younger children watching older children.