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Making the education of your child a positive experience.

Why a Multi-Age Environment

Clear Advantages include:

• modeling: Both older and younger children benefit as younger children observe the
older students following behavioral expectations, classroom routine, and make improvements to their learning as a result. Older students benefit from having the opportunity to be positive role models. The cycle continues once the younger children move on to being the older ones and reap the rewards of being the positive influence on the new younger children in the school.

• access to more material: The environment allows for a variety of material to be available since children of different ages and ability are all working in the same space. As a consequence, children who are working beyond their expected level based on chronological age can have easier access to material that meets them at their level of ability. Conversely, if a child is experiencing some difficulty with a subject and not at grade level as would be defined by their age, then they do not need to fall behind or feel “lost” since we would be able to meet them at their level and help them to understand with the appropriate materials. It is clear that most schools only allow for students of the same age to learn together and this assumes that children will learn the same things at the same time, and at the same rate. Clearly, a multi-age environment allows for far more flexibility and recognizes individual differences in learning levels.

• community of learners: There are opportunities for children of different ages to help each other which promotes patience, empathy, and feelings of accomplishment. The students would be a family who care for each other, help each other, and will be encouraged to value each person for their unique qualities.

• reflection of real-world: Learning with different aged peers is also a better reflection of what the real world is like since people do not simply relate to identical aged peers. It also allows siblings to learn together and share experiences that are not available when they are separated.  Clearly, there are families who would welcome this kind of opportunity for their children, and a multi-age environment provides this choice.

• tutoring: It should not be expected that older children will be spending a large amount of time tutoring younger children since clearly their time needs to be spent on their own work. However, the opportunity to tutor younger children at times is beneficial since it allows the older students to practice what they know which improves their own understanding as a result. Also, younger students have the opportunity to show their unique strengths and interests to the students which can be a great boost to confidence and positive feelings. All students will have their own personal strengths and learning styles and offer unique strengths to their classmates.

• benefits for the parents: The multi-age classroom that seeks to find the unique learning styles of each students greatly values the involvement of parents. Parents should know that they are appreciated and that their positive participation is encouraged.

For More Information Contact:

Sheila Moeck
New Heights School


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Last modified: 03-Apr-2011