Montessori classrooms are set up with multi-age groupings. It is fundamental to
the Montessori method. Why does it work and what are the benefits?
Older children have the chance to become mentors to their younger friends,
while learning and practising important leadership skills. Younger children
naturally look up to and follow older children, and with different ages, there are
always opportunities for a child to be a leader.
Teaching is a great way to confirm a child’s own mastery of a subject.
The older students can learn the joy of teaching their younger peers. They begin
to value patience and empathy, they learn how to help others by sharing their
tasks that they themselves have mastered. The process of passing on, teaching by
example and communication, reminding oneself of the specific steps, reinforces
Watching older children do their work not only provides a model for how to
process cognitive, emotional and social skills. Young children observing the way
an older peer politely asks the teacher a question will lead naturally to trying and
copying that behaviour themselves. The multi-age classrooms give younger
students the chance to learn not only from a teacher’s instructions, but from the
examples set by their fellow students.
Older children have a chance to develop leadership skills.
The Montessori method creates a diverse environment where attention is instead
drawn to the range of talents and abilities within the class. There is exposure to a
variety of interests and skills, and children can build confidence working in diverse
groups, talking and interacting with different aged children.
Both younger and older students have a chance to implicitly develop a growth
mindset by observing all three years of the learning process in one classroom.
Watching younger students progress for one material to the next teaches older
students the value of practice and hard work. They look forward to reaching their
level of ability.
by Karina Tabungar