5 Benefits of a Multi-Age Classroom
At The French Académie, we have multi-age classrooms. La Maternelle supports children ages 3 years old through 6 years of age (preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten). Le Tout Petit Programme classroom supports children ages 18 months through 36 months of age. Why do we combine children of different ages? Research has shown a myriad of benefits! Here are few according to the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI):
Children can spend longer with the same teacher.
This allows each teacher to build relationships with the children and better understand their strengths and weaknesses, putting them in a better position to support their learning.
Children are viewed as individuals with unique abilities.
In a multi-age classroom, children are able to learn at their own rate and are supported according to their abilities. The teacher can meet the child where they are at in the learning process, unlike in same-grade classrooms that often put all children in the same place at the same time regardless of ability. Additionally, children can see themselves as progressive successful learners on a spectrum as they have several years to develop.
Children grow up with a plethora of positive role models academically and socially.
Older children have the opportunity to mentor younger children and take leadership roles in the classroom. Older children model progression and more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish more with the assistance of older children. This improves each child’s independence, competence, confidence, and sense of community. Children are really able to take charge of their learning.
Children develop a sense of family with their classmates.
They become a “family of learners” over time who care and support one another. Younger children are encouraged to seek out support from older children in the classroom. A sense of cooperation and caring then develops as children begin to take an interest in one another’s success across age groups.
Children have almost an extra month of teaching time each year.
The teacher does not have to spend the early weeks of the year getting to know each child. They are also familiar with their classmates from the previous year. Therefore, children feel more comfortable jumping right into the learning environment!