At Savi Montessori, we do not segregate children based on their ages into Playgroup, Nursery, Junior Kg and Senior Kg. Instead we have 2 classrooms; Montessori Toddler, for children around 15 months to 2.5 to 3 years and then the children transition to our Primary Classroom where they stay until 6 years. Children in Montessori Classrooms are usually divided into a 3-year age groupings. The Primary classroom is for 3 to 6 year olds, Lower Elementary is for 6 to 9 year olds and so on. In fact, 3 year cycle is one of the hallmarks of an authentic Montessori School.
This grouping is done based on child developmental phases as children in these 3 year blocks are going through similar cognitive development and have similar needs. So what are the benefits of this multi-age classroom structure to the children?
Kaitlyn teaching Shaaya the parts of the Frog
Opportunity for Leadership
Young children naturally look up to the older children for everything. Hence in this mixed age classroom there are lot of opportunities for the older children to take the lead. More often than not the older children seize these opportunities to guide the young ones in their learning journeys. While doing so they are not only building their self- esteem but also mastering the concepts they had learnt earlier.
The Teacher gets to know each Child
As the same teacher is present for 3 years with the child, she gets to know each child’s strengths and weaknesses very well. And therefore can best customize the learning approach for each child is she more hands-on and learns by exploring? Does he love singing and would remember better the days of the week using a song.
Learning is truly Individualized
As there is no rush to make each child achieve the milestone as per the timeline, the child gets the benefit of learning at their own pace. As the children are constantly observing the older child working on more complex activities, they get familiar with the new concepts even before the teacher introduces it to them.
Co-operation instead of Competition
In a typical classroom setting as all students are doing the same thing at the same time, it is natural for them as well as the adults to compare the children. But in a Montessori classroom as each child is at a different stage of learning there is no competition between them. Instead the child who knows the concept is eager to help her classmate. There is a true sense of community in the classroom.
Rian helping Vir with letters and tracing using sandpaper letters
We see the benefits of mixed ages everyday in the way the children interact with each other. What are your thoughts on this unique approach?