Sep 04 Houston Chronicle Benefits of Mixed-Age Classrooms
Adults work and collaborate with peers across different age groups, as do children. Why are schools still grouping children according to age when this isn’t a dynamic of the ‘real world’? One of the many unique facets of MYSA School, which is similar to the Montessori system, is that students are not rigidly grouped according to their age, birthdate. Students at MYSA attend classes, work on projects and learn in mixed-age groupings of students and among everyone in the micro school. In this article, by the Houston Chronicle, Siri – our Head of School discusses some of the reasons why mixed-age groups benefit students in all learning environments.
According to a research digest from the University of Illinois, “Students from multiage classrooms achieved greater academic outcomes in relation to their abilities and demonstrated greater increases in academic achievement than students of the same and higher abilities from single-age classrooms.”
She writes that clustering students by age harms pupils who perform well-above or well-below grade level. According to a recent Center for American Progress survey, 36 percent of fourth graders in Texas say that their math homework is “often” or “almost always” too easy. And 13 percent say their math homework is “never or hardly ever” too easy.”
Children in mixed-age classes are more likely to volunteer and less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior. A recent study in the “Journal of Youth and Adolescence” found that students, especially female students, with mixed-grade friendships are less lonely.
The peer-to-peer learning that happens among children of different ages promotes social, emotional development and greater retention and understanding of concepts. It’s time to promote a greater range of ages in school classrooms to reflect the work world, prepare students for their future and improve academic achievement.