participate in a mixed-age class again. It is great the way the
different age groups can work with each other. "
In a classroom containing adolescents and senior citizens, a
senior says, " I get along beautifully with the young students. I'm
enjoying it all, even the homework"
Childrenreceive maximum verbal stimulation and develop
new vocabulary most rapidly when grouped with children slightly
older than themselves. Multi-age grouping appears particularly
beneficial to the younger members of the group.
Experimental studies in preschool settings confirm the positive
effects of multi-age grouping on social and emotional
development. Hammack found that three, four, and five-year-old
children made more progress in self-concept in multi-age than in
single-age groups. Goldman found three- and four-year-olds in
mixed-age classes were more sociable than those in single-age classes. As childhood isolation is a significant predictor of
later psychiatric disorderthis must be counted a significant
benefit of the MAC.
One approach explored by theoreticians and researchers for
encouragingchildren’s social skill development is mixed-age
education. In mixed-age education, children of at least a 2-year
age span and diverse ability levels are grouped in a single
classroom and are encouraged to share experiences involving
intellectual, academic, and social skills. Consistency over time in
relationships among teachers, children, and parents is viewed
asone of the most significant strengths of the mixed-age
approach because itencourages greater depth in children’s
social, academic, and intellectual development. The concept of
the classroom as a "family" is encouraged, leading to expansion
of the roles of nurturing and commitment on the part of both
students and teacher