Most child care centers segregate their classrooms by age (two year olds are in the Two Year Olds room and three year olds are in the Three Year Olds room and so on). Montessori preschools are known for combining age groups. Our Pre-Primary classrooms are for children ages 18 months up to 3 years old and our Primary level is for three to five year olds. But why? What is the advantage? Why is allowing a three year old to stay in the same classroom for up to three years with the same teacher and the same children so beneficial?
Opportunities for Leadership
Younger students can observe older students working on materials or lessons that are new or harder than what they are used to or know. Older students have the chance to become mentors to their younger classmates, while learning and practicing important leadership skills. It’s peer learning at its best! Have you noticed that younger children gravitate to older children? When I was a child, I was constantly trying to get my older sisters’ attention, to do whatever they were doing. Hero worship is real, y’all. Our students are the same. Children learn a great deal simply by observing. Having older children in the classroom means that younger children are surrounded by over a dozen teachers instead of one or two. And the self-confidence our students develop by modeling and teaching is something that has to be earned over time, something they can achieve only in a multi-age classroom.
By combining multiple age groups into one classroom, the Montessori method creates a diverse environment—since differences in age, for young children, correspond with vast differences in every other ability. Consider it another way, it’s a growth mindset. Both younger and older students have the opportunity to develop a “growth mindset” by observing all three years of the learning process in one classroom. And it mirrors real life. There is no other area in life in which people are split into groups with others who are exactly their chronological age.
Learning at an Individual Pace
With a one-size-fits-all formula that traditional child care centers use, there is no room for learning what you want, when you want for how long you need. But in a Montessori classroom, it’s not only encouraged, it’s built into our learning model. Children are encouraged to work with materials that interest them, so if they see an older child working on an extension of the Pink Tower, they can work with them or try it on their own, then teach it to another child. This wouldn’t be possible in a daycare setting.
By minimizing transitions every 12 months, children are able to build stronger relationships and capitalize on the learning environment it creates, both as an initial mentor and eventually a teacher and leader. A Montessori classroom is building the best, most natural learning method possible for your child and enhancing what is organic in children, helping others as they help themselves.
American Montessori Society, www.amshq.org
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!