Key Benefits of a Mixed Classroom
The benefits of a mixed classroom far outweigh the concerns about a mixed classroom by age. As parents are worried about how kids will adjust to a new situation or meeting new kids. When those kids are older we worry how much they will influence our child. Or, will my child be too shy to get to know other students? Or the dreaded, what awful habits or bad words will my child learn. It turns out, kids interacting with a diversity of others is excellent for their learning and understanding of the world.
Children Teach Each Other
Parents often come to me with concerns about their child being in a program or class with kids younger or older than them. They are worried the older kids will be too mature or the younger kids will slow down their child. In some situations, too large of an age gap can result in issues, a mixed classroom setting with the right age range has many benefits.
Teaching Others Reinforces What’s Learned
In our after-school programs, our instructors deal with students ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade. By asking older or more advanced students to help the younger students, older kids actually learn more themselves. It reinforces what the instructor said if they turn around and explain it to someone else.
Kids Explain Things In a Kid-Friendly Way
Sometimes, the other students often have better insight into how to say something on a struggling child’s level. Kids know each other’s languages. They are familiar with concepts in a way that only kids think. While teachers have more experience, sometimes a child can teach another child in a way that is comfortable to them. Other kids are the best resource for further explaining concepts that our adult minds can’t break down.
It’s common for some students to be afraid to ask for help from authority figures. So, when an instructor allows another student to help someone who is shy, it allows for that child to learn the concept in a comfortable way. Also, when an older student helps others, they gain a sense of responsibility, leaving them feeling confident, too. Each year, we see many students rise to the occasion and help others. And, each year we see the positive effects on students’ confidence no matter the age.
Mixing Ages in a Classroom has Multiple Benefits
Kids’ minds are open to new concepts that they might not be getting otherwise in a same-age classroom setting. Younger kids look up to older kids, which encourages their willingness to learn when they see older kids interested in a subject too. And it’s not just the younger children that learn more with a wide variety of ages. Older students may see concepts in a new light when a younger child is trying to learn it.
Whether its mixed ages in a Classroom Antics program or a group of friends, kids are often much less worried about the age gap than parents. Let your child explore meeting different-aged kids and see how they interact. You may just find they experience the benefits of a mixed classroom!