The pros and cons of multiage classrooms

One-room schoolhouses are few and far between at this point, but some educators and parents still believe that multiage classrooms are the best educational approach.

Often found in Montessori and other nontraditional schools, multiage classrooms typically span two or three grade levels. In a Montessori lower elementary classroom, for instance, students from ages 6 to 9 may be in a single class together, but break up into different small groups by ability in different subjects.

Multiage classrooms were standard in American schools until the mid-19th century, when they began to be replaced by a curriculum-centered, grade-level system. Education reformers later revived the idea of multiage education, particularly in the 1990s, arguing that it’s a more child-centered and developmentally appropriate approach.

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