The mixed age group environment creates an atmosphere where children learn to help and be helped by other children, because they interact consistently with children whose age and abilities are varied. Children gain an appreciation for their achievement and the accomplishments of others, and are naturally challenged by the achievements of others.
Older children learn to be patient and tolerant, and serve as role models and teachers for the younger children. When an older child teaches a younger one, it reinforces previously learned concepts and is actually an aid in complete mastery of concepts. Younger children learn about courtesy, manners, and conflict resolution by watching the older children in the class.
Because teachers do not have to set the instruction pace by a whole group, each child is given the ability to learn at his or her own pace.
By staying in a classroom for a three year period, children develop a strong sense of community and stability, with 2/3 of a class returning every year. This community aids the development of students as role models for one another. Being in the same classroom year after year allows a teacher to truly learn each individual child’s learning abilities, style, and developmental level to better be able to set the learning agenda as well as build on strengths and work on weaknesses.