Multi-age classrooms may be a new concept to you, and you would not be the first one either! But as some schools integrated this method into their systems a few years ago, they are seeing some great learning in their students!
What Are Multi-Age Classrooms?
It is simply as it sounds: multi-age classrooms have students in chronological ages for a two-year learning period. They are often paired with the same teacher for this period so the teacher can get a deeper grasp behind each student’s individual learning process. The students are on the same learning topics, allowing each other to grow at their own pace. For some slow learners, this can be a more welcoming environment as they will not feel inferior if they are not grasping the information at the same pace as others since they are not in a yearly classroom. If they have to stay behind and continue learning, they will have fewer negative connotations to take with them as there are still younger students in the same classroom with them (and not them being a year older than every single student the following year!).
As the older students grow and learn, they can then become mentors to the younger students in the classroom during this time as well. If the younger students are struggling to keep up, the older students can act as a go-between the lagging students and the teacher and can potentially help them grasp the information better. And the younger students most likely look up to the older students, so they will be happy to be taught by them! And as the younger students grow up and become the older students in that grouping, they can feel accomplished and help the new younger set of students feel at home and comfortable learning.
Having multiple ages in a classroom can have a greater flow of information, and help students learn patience, communication, hard work, and collaboration on a better level than some group projects. It can help instill integrity, leadership, and initiative. If you homeschool your children and they are relatively close in age, this can also be a great way of teaching their lessons at home! They can collaborate and learn together instead of having their own set of curricula to get done in a day. This can help build their sibling bonds as well and give them a chance to work together, as well as freeing up some of your time!