What are the benefits of mixed-age classes?
The good news is there’s no evidence that suggests mixed-age classrooms have a negative impact on progress or attainment. In fact, there are many advantages!
It’s not just me that thinks mixed-age classes are great, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) think so too. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
#1: Learners spend longer with the same teacher
Instead of spending one year with each class, you have two, three or even more years with each child. The better you know a learner, the more you can support their individual needs.
As an added bonus, you won’t have to get to know a whole new class at the beginning of the year — saving nearly a month of teaching time.
#2: Learners develop their individual maths potential over several years
It’s impossible to expect all learners from different year groups to work at the same level. So you can throw that expectation out the window. Once learners stop comparing themselves to their peers, they start to see themselves as unique individuals with their own strengths.
In a mixed-age class, there will be many opportunities for learners to work independently, take charge of their learning and make choices about what task to do next. You can also take a longer view of each learners progress and develop their understanding over years instead of months.
#3: Learners collaborate and build relationships
Giving older learners the chance to support younger learners builds their confidence and leadership skills. The younger learners also benefit as they see their older peers modelling positive behaviour.
Mixed-age classes encourage a spirit of cooperation where learners are more likely to support each other than compete. Over time, learners become a ‘family of learners’ who support and care for each other.