Benefits of Multi-Age Grouping

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Recently, an FMS parent was kind enough to share a video with us on our Facebook page. You may have seen the viral hit — an older, bigger dog teaches his puppy friend to go down the stairs. That got us thinking about the benefits of multi-age grouping in the classroom. A few teachers share their thoughts:

“Multi-aged classrooms speak to a fundamental tenet of the Montessori philosophy where modeling behavior and ‘showing’ a child how to do a work is desired over ‘telling’ the child the necessary steps. With older and younger children mixed together, the natural teaching moments emerge easily and effectively.  Many times during the course of a week, we witness older students teaching younger students not only the content of the work, but also giving the younger child a pattern of behavior that they can aspire to. Children are eager to relate to each other and find gratification in submitting their attention to another child in a natural and effective way. Multi-aged classrooms support a culture of sharing and encourage children at a young age to respond to older children around them. This interaction strengthens the children’s abilities to relate and communicate their feelings with others and begins the vital process of dealing with their own will power, ego and self perceptions.  It is a safe space to experiment with developing social awareness. Older children are also reminded of the virtue of responsibility and the important role of being an example of positive behavior for younger children. It shows them the strength they have developed personally and the impact they can have on others simply by being a positive role model.” — Ms. Nancy, P1

“When the third levels are asked to teach a concept to the others, they love it! Recently a third grader was absent one day and a first level asked if they could teach them the lesson they missed. They like helping each other and with teacher guidance it can be a wonderful experience for both parties. Children like it when their friends want to help them.” — Ms. April, E4

“Children vary in their academic, social and emotional development. In a multi-age classroom students can have their needs met whether they are above or below the average level of children their age. Students have the opportunity to  develop their leadership skills and confidence through mentoring peers.” — Ms. Nina, E3

“Having children ages three through six together permits the younger children to have role models for imitation, and the older ones  an opportunity to reinforce their knowledge by helping the younger ones.They say you really know a subject when you can teach it.” — Ms. Maryam, P3
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