In all our classrooms there are many options for grouping. Groups are formed according to skill, interest, or learning style. Grouping patterns change throughout the day, should vary so an individual student may be part of three or four different groups in the course of a day or week. Groups, most importantly, should be fluid and temporary. Students should not get locked into working with one group for a whole year.
Flexible and continuous learning
Since children learn at different rates, the continuous progress model assures that all can have appropriate interaction and make progress, regardless of ability.
Younger students observe older students doing sophisticated tasks and showing responsible behaviors. Older students develop as “mentors” for tasks that may be too difficult for younger students to do alone, building self confidence and self esteem. Many younger students absorb academic concepts from watching and working next to their older classmates.
Students learn to work together on academic and social needs, as well as the care of the classroom. As age barriers drop, there is an increase in mixed-age relationships. Cooperation becomes a natural part of all learning situations.
Closer to Real World Model
Multi-age classrooms parallel the model seen in a family or an occupation, where cooperative relationships flourish.
The older students may move on each year, while the younger students stay becoming the “veterans”. Students learn rapidly from each other routines, and where things are kept.
Students have the opportunity to make friends across grade-level lines, thus have many more choices in friendships. Students are allowed to learn together in many different configurations, more opportunities are given to lead, follow, share, nurture, and collaborate. Positive peer tutoring relationships can be fostered. Students have chances to teach something they have learned, which cements learning in the tutor.
Students learn independence by goal setting, time management, jobs and routines, while taking responsibility for each other are stressed.
All students make progress and have achievements celebrated, no matter what their abilities. Every child experiences success equally, because success is measured by individual achievement of goals and individual progress. Students experience continuous learning, not damaging failure or repetition of learned material.