Why a Multi-Age Classroom in Montessori?
In a Montessori classroom, multi-age groupings offer a great range in the social, intellectual and learning needs among the group of children. In traditional classroom settings, where children are grouped according a single age or grade, the environment and curricula often reflect the expectation that children’s developmental and academic needs are progressing at the same pace. For this reason, children are often learning the same skill or lesson at the same time. This apparent similarity among the children can create competition to see who can complete the task fastest or who can make fewest mistakes. In a Montessori classroom, there is a variety and range of work occurring simultaneously by different children at different ages.
The younger children often watch the older children at work. They see the progression in learning as natural and look forward to being shown more complex and challenging tasks just as they have seen the older children doing.
“They are aware of those around them, and one often sees the small ones intently watching the work of others, particularly the older ones. In doing this they absorb much more than it seems, and already preparing themselves for more active social participation in the community of the class.”
(Maria Montessori, Education For Human Development)