Learning Together: Benefits of a Mixed Age Classroom
We are just weeks away from the start of our enrichment programs. As the anticipation of the school year builds, I am busy planning and prepping for the year to come. This year we are thrilled to offer a true mixed age classroom experience. Starting fall 2015 both our AM and PM Enrichment classrooms will be for children ages 3-6. I understand that a mixed aged classroom might be a new concept for many families. So let me explain just a few of the many highlights to this approach. Let’s start with…
The mixed age curriculum approach:
Creates an environment where learning is supported across all levels.
Instruction is about ability, interest, and development not just age.
Lessons and activities are differentiated and accessible for all children
Learning is self-directed and individually paced while maintain group expectations
The entire classroom is structured for multi- level learning and experiences. From our physical layout of the space, the materials we choose, to the activities we offer. Children access information on different levels and the design of our classroom is intended to support this. The mixed age classroom curriculum is designed to support learning and understanding as each child becomes “ready” for the information. Learning is now focused on what the individual child needs. Not all children learn to write their name at the same time or at the same age…and that is perfectly OK! In our classroom we create learning opportunities that are available to every child- age is not a factor for learning.
Why children succeed in mixed aged classrooms:
Older children learn compassion and leadership skills while mentoring younger children in the classroom
Younger children experience higher level thinking and problem solving skills through observation and interactions with the older children
All children mentor and support each other to strengthen our classroom community
Our community thrives because the children are learning to care for not only themselves, but to lead and guide others. By creating an environment where children are on various developmental levels, the classroom allows for children to preview what comes next in the process. Younger children hear conversations between other peers and learn social language. Older children learn to self- monitor their actions, as well as, how to become positive role models for other children. We become a not just a classroom but a family.
Are there struggles with having a mixed age room…sure. But there are struggles in any classroom. Every group needs to find their way to work together. In my years of teaching (and I am approaching 20years- YIKES), I see less competition and more cooperation in my classrooms that have larger age differences. The compassion that children develop melts my heart. I am excited for the school year to start, as I know many of you are too. Honestly, there is so much more I could say on this. And if you would like to know more, please email me. I LOVE talking about what I do. It’s a passion, I just can’t help myself!
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. See you soon.
Curious? Want to learn more? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your classroom visit. See for yourself what sets the Clubhouse’s Enrichment Programs apart.