Multi-age philosophy is based on the belief that multi-aging is the most effective classroom organisational structure for teachers to meet the individual needs of children. Multi-age classrooms differ from composite or combination classes where students in each grade level study a separate curriculum.
“ Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing. “
Multi-age philosophy is based on the belief that multi-aging is the most effective classroom organisational structure for teachers to meet the individual needs of children. Multi-age classrooms differ from composite or combination classes where students in each grade level study a separate curriculum. The use of developmentally appropriate practices is essential to the success of multi-age classroom. Developmentally appropriate practice ensures that every child is learning at his or her own rate. It involves focusing on children as individuals who are growing and developing on a continuum of learning.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MULTI-AGING?
Multi-age groupings reflect the values and beliefs which are important to our society, including cooperation, tolerance and support.
- Multi-age groupings model family life where children have opportunities to learn from others of different ages.
- Children learn by modelling others.
- Children are less competitive in a multi-age classroom, the atmosphere is cooperative and collaborative.
- Multi-age classrooms create an environment which enables children to be respected for their individuality.
- In Multi-age classrooms children are encouraged to learn at their own pace.
- Multi-age settings encourage teachers to focus on the individual, and meet each child’s individual needs.
- Multi-age classrooms provide opportunities for extension of children beyond the traditional year expectations.
DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE
The developmental approach acknowledges that children learn at different rates and have preferred learning styles, which is to say they learn in different ways. A developmental program provides children with learning experiences that are active (hands-on) and meaningful. It reflects individual perspectives as it enables children to approach learning with a greater amount of flexibility. A developmental environment allows children to inquire and explore, interact with others and participate in shared problem solving and group decision making. Learning centres, integrated curriculum and varied instructional strategies are important features of the multi-aged classroom.