What is Multiage Education?
Multiage education is the intentional grouping of children of different ages, abilities, and emotional maturity in the same classroom. Students in our program are continually regrouped for different learning activities rather than being consistently segregated by chronological age. Within these structures, children progress along a continuum of simple to more complex material at their own rates, making continuous progress rather than being “promoted” to the next grade at the end of a school year. In multiage programs, students typically stay with their teacher for 2 to 3 years. With the beginning of each new school year, one-half to two-thirds of the students from the previous year’s class remain together, with only the oldest students entering new classes.
What are the benefits?
The multiage approach reflects the current research surrounding learning and brain development. Research indicates that heterogeneous, mixed-age grouping promotes cognitive and social growth, reduces antisocial behavior, and facilitates the use of research-based, developmentally appropriate instructional practices such as active learning and integrated curriculum. The wider range of ages and abilities in a multiage classroom discourages misleading age-graded expectations and helps teachers focus on students’ individual learning needs.
What does it look like?
The multiage classroom looks like any great classroom. At San Diego Cooperative we begin with a nurturing teacher that guides the children and their classroom community through rich and meaningful learning experiences. To know students as humans and guide their development, teachers are encouraged to build genuine relationships with each individual child. Children are immersed in a loving atmosphere that emphasizes collaborative work, relationships and access to deep understanding. Both older and younger students are encouraged to be themselves and take lead when they feel confident to lead and follow when it makes sense to follow. Our students are supportive and empathetic toward one another, and understand their own differences and similarities. They support each other toward goals and take ownership of their space and community.