04 Feb Why Do Montessori Classes Have Mixed Ages?
True Montessori classrooms have multi-age groupings in the classrooms.
- Infants- 0-18 months
- Toddlers- 18 months-3 years
- Early Childhood- 3-6 years
There are many benefits to the mixed age range in the classrooms.
Typically, the child is with the same teacher all three years. We know young children at this age, do not like change – they need routine. In a Montessori environment, the children come to school each year to the same classroom, the same teacher and many of the same friends.
The teacher knows the students
When children move from class to class each year, the teacher has to learn about her new students. In the Montessori classroom, the teacher already knows the majority of her children. She knows their learning style, temperament, where their strengths are and which areas they need help in.
There is a sense of community
In our adult lives, we work with a diverse grouping of people. Children in a Montessori classroom have the opportunity to work with older and younger children. As the student becomes the oldest in the classroom (the Kindergartner), there is a sense of ownership of the classroom. The student becomes more independent and starts to take on more leadership roles, showing the new, younger students around. This creates a mentor and mentee relationship within the classroom
Helps with goal setting
Younger children often look up to older siblings or cousins; it is natural. In a multi-age classroom, the younger students look up to the older students. They see others working on more advanced or challenging work that they themselves would like to do. This provides the students with the motivation to practice and master earlier lessons.
A student exhibits a deep understanding of a lesson when she can teach it to another. Older students enjoy being role models in the classroom and teaching the younger ones previously mastered lessons. This helps teach life skills to both students, such as patience, courtesy and collaboration.
Ability to for children to work at their own pace
In traditional classrooms, the children are all working on the same thing. This can lead some children to be bored, because they already know that lesson. While other children may be left behind, because they do not have enough time to truly understand the concept. In a Montessori setting, the curriculum is individualized for each student, so that the student can be successful. This also helps to create a non-competitive learning environment. When everyone is working on the same thing in the classroom, it naturally causes children to compare themselves with others.
Mixed age groupings are a vital part of well-rounded Montessori curriculum. It helps children develop not only intellectually, but also socially