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The Benefits of Mixed Age Groups in Montessori Classrooms

Life isn’t segregated by age; communities aren’t neatly divided into peer groups and we don’t just hang out with people our own age. So why do most school systems separate students based on their age?

Contrary to popular belief, age does not dictate social or academic developmental level, and it’s in fact more beneficial for children (even as early as preschool and kindergarten levels) to be exposed to mixed age groups throughout their social, intellectual, and emotional development.

Montessori in Northwest Calgary

At Grey Matter Montessori in northwest Calgary, we teach in a mixed age group setting where preschoolers and kindergarteners get acquainted with other children not only at a different age, but at a different stage in their developmental level.

Instead of a grade system, Montessori places children together in age clusters:

  • Preschool Age Cluster: Ages 3 – 6
  • Kindergarten Age Cluster: Ages 6 – 9

Because some kids learn faster, or slower, keeping children of the same age learning the same concepts will end up leaving some behind, and pulling others back. Learning has little to do with age, and much more to do with how well they absorb and interpret information, as well as their learning style.

Exposing kids to a mixed age group environment helps boost their learning experience and their development in a number of ways.

Direct Benefits of Mixed Age Groups

While no one seems to know why most of our schools are segregated by age, at Grey Matter Montessori, we know why we don’t follow the norm.

Mixed Age Groups Benefits:

  • Eliminates competition, as every child is at a different stage of learning, unique to their own development.
  • Encourages kids to build strong bonds with others not of their own age (much like how older and younger siblings interact).
  • Teaches peer-to-peer interactions (children are more apt to learn from their peers than from adults).
  • Better social and academic skills than traditionally schooled children.

Not only are mixed age groups a benefit for younger kids, but it’s an equal benefit to older children, as well.

Benefits of Mixed Age Groups to Older Children

  • Teaches older kids the reward of being a good role-model for younger children.
  • Gives the kids the ability to become mentors to the younger ones (assist them on how to properly carry a tray, where the bathroom is, where to put their lunchbox, where and when to eat lunch, etc.).
  • Gives the older children a stronger sense of self-worth as they’re helping others.
  • Teaches kids to be sensitive to others around them, to recognize when others need help, and helps them to become more independent in their actions.

Instead of drawing arbitrary lines between kids to dictate who they get to hang out with all day, and where they should be in their development, Grey Matter Montessori opens each class up to an array of children, exposing preschoolers and kindergarteners to other kids that are further along in their development cycle, and a few steps behind as well – just like in real life.

Preparing your Children for Life

It’s Grey Matter Montessori’s mission to prepare your preschoolers and kindergarteners for life, in all of its unsegregated glory, which is the way it should be. That’s why we give kids a range of life experiences they’ll be able to use to create a successful life for themselves, and help their peers do the same.

To learn more about Montessori schooling and Grey Matter Montessori in northwest Calgary, contact us today.

 

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