Multi Aged Gr...

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Multi Aged Grouping

Multi aged grouping

At ISB, teaching and learning happen in multi-age (or multi-level) classrooms. Learn about how your child can benefit from this type of learning environment.

Multi-age education is the deliberate placing of children of different ages (and abilities) in the same classroom.
Within the classroom, students are often regrouped into different learning abilities, rather than being taught at age level. As adults, we are all different. We learn differently, we excel in different areas, and we have different emotional maturity. Children are no different.

Multi-age education involves a belief that all children can learn, and that they learn at different rates.
This supports a child centered educational philosophy. The activities in a multi-age class are usually based on correct developmental levels, therefore children are more likely to succeed. Class activities are meant to reinforce what the teacher has already taught, and allow the teacher to evaluate the student’s understanding of the concept.

multiage_exhibitMulti age grouping has been in practice for over 30 years, with proven success.
The research supporting mixed-age classrooms indicates that academic achievement is the same as, or better than, the academic achievement of children in same-grade classrooms. Multi-age classrooms do not negatively affect student achievement, and students in these classrooms have significantly more positive attitudes toward school, themselves, and others.

The Association for Childhood Education International lists the following benefits of multi-age classrooms:

  • Children are able to spend more than one year with the same teacher, allowing the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs.
  • Children have several years to develop, and are able to see themselves as progressive, successful learners.
  • Children are viewed as unique individuals. The teacher focuses on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths.
  • Children learn at their own rate, with no fear of retention. In mixed-age classrooms, children have more time to master content.
  • Children are invited to take charge of their learning, by making choices at small learning centres which have self directed learning challenges or projects set up in a corner of the room. This sense of “ownership” and self-direction is the foundation for lifelong learning.
  • Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
  • Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
  • Children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
  • Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a “family of learners” who support and care for each other.

Further reading:
FAQs on multiage classrooms by Marion Leier, longtime multiage teacher and expert
On the Merits of Multi-Age Classrooms By David Pratt PhD, Psychologist
The Benefits of the Multiage Classroom By Alice Leeds and David Marshak, multi-age educators