Maria Montessori observed that children are eager to learn, and she identified self-directed, observational learning as a central theme of childhood. Describing the phenomenon of observational learning in a multi-age group, Montessori wrote that the child “…suddenly becomes aware of his companions, and is almost as deeply interested as we are in the progress of their work.”
This is why at Main Street Montessori School children are placed with their peers in one of our multi-age classrooms. The Classrooms include Primary (ages 3-6), Lower Elementary (ages 6-9) and Upper Elementary (ages 9-12).
Mixed ages helps the children develop as a community, and learn to rely on each other. The older ones are role-models for the younger ones, not only with their behavior, but also with the work that they do. The younger children see what the older children do, and with the ability to “observe” are able to watch work that is beyond their capabilities and become familiar with materials and concepts that they will learn later on down the road.
The older children also benefit from the opportunity to mentor the younger children. It helps build their self-confidence, leadership skills, and re-affirms their prior learning.
Multi-age classrooms encourage the development of:
- Self-esteem-the child is in the same classroom for three years and knows the teacher and expectations.
- Reinforcement of knowledge-older children in the classroom share their knowledge with the younger ones, reinforcing their understanding and teaching them leadership.
- Motivation-younger children are inspired by the things the older children can do and strive to grow to that level.
- Self-confidence-older children model appropriate behavior for and nurture the younger children and naturally learn leadership skills.
- Compassion and courtesy–the classroom is a family-like setting where children develop strong, sibling-type relationships as they progress from being “younger siblings” during their first year to being “older siblings” in their last year, while remaining with the same teacher for three years.
Does a Multi-age classroom sound like something your child could benefit from? Schedule a tour today and see it in person! Send us a message or call 515-981-1275