A core trait of your child’s Montessori preschool is the use of multi-aged classrooms. This intentional mixing of ages plays an important role and offers quite a few developmental advantages. To illustrate, consider these 3 advantages and how they apply to your child.
- Promoting Diversity
Diversity is an important lesson in preschool, teaching children to be more accepting of things–including ages– that are different from themselves. And because smaller children look up to older ones for clues on how to act and communicate, the multi-aged environment provides great working examples to help the younger ones understand their own role in the larger world.
- Leadership Opportunity
In Montessori, children cycle through a 3-year age group. That means children take turns being the younger children and then develop into the older ones before graduating on to the next age group. This is an excellent way for children to learn leadership skills such as diplomacy, teamwork, and critical thinking. It also fosters better communication by building vocabulary and generating new interests.
In this respect, it is important to note that there are benefits for older children as well. They build self-esteem, personal reliance, and develop an awareness of how the things they do and say impact the people around them. Respect for ourselves and our community is considered a valuable trait, and multi-aged classrooms teach tomorrow’s leaders how to inspire and encourage others.
- Unlocking Learning Potential
Children learn from watching their older peers and siblings. They encounter new ideas, put social and academic concepts into perspective, and learn to be like the older kids. The benefit is that children become more engaged in the learning process, discover interests and ideas that they weren’t aware of, and give them concrete goals they can strive for.
Mixed-age groups are one of the core principles of Montessori. They allow children to learn at their own pace and encourage learning. Additionally, they allow every child to be one of the big kids, a sharp contrast to traditional classrooms where children spend their education as only one or the other.