ERIC Number: ED382411
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-May
The Benefits of Mixed-Age Grouping. ERIC Digest.
Katz, Lilian G.
The intention of mixed-age grouping in early childhood settings is to increase the heterogeneity of the group so as to capitalize on the differences in the experience, knowledge, and abilities of the children. One of the benefits of mixed-age groups is that they provide a context in which older children's dispositions to nurture can be strengthened. Other benefits relate to ways of learning. Whereas single-age groups create pressures on children and teachers to expect the same knowledge and skills from all children, in groups of children with a wide age span, the range of behavior and performance likely to be accepted is wider. Results of experiments in which children worked in same-age or mixed-age groups of three have shown that in the latter, older children spontaneously facilitated other children's behavior. In a single-age triad, however, the same children became domineering. Mixed-age groups also provide social and intellectual benefits. In mixed-age groups, younger children are capable of contributing to far more complex activities than they could working by themselves. Both older and younger children benefit from discussions centering on tasks which one understands better than the other. Along with these benefits, there are risks related to mixed-age groups. Younger children might be overwhelmed or pestered by older children, or older children might gloat over their superior skills. Teachers can alleviate these risks by encouraging children to turn to each other for explanations and comfort, showing younger children how to protect themselves, and encouraging older children to read to or write down text for younger children. (BC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.