The Montessori Minute: Mixed Age Groupings

Here are a series of things you would see peering into your child’s classroom. Take a minute to better understand how learning occurs in Montessori.

Have you ever wondered why Montessori classes have a 3-year age range? Why not do single-year groupings like we had in school? 

Maria Montessori observed that only in schools are children divided into single-age groupings for extended periods. With family and other life situations, various ages mix freely as they interact and learn from one another. Montessori incorporated that insight into her schools. Based on extensive observations of children, she identified distinct “planes of development” (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15). Her classrooms then grouped children together according to these developmental stages. This was also done to neutralize — vs. concentrate — age related behaviors. (For example, putting all the “terrible twos” into the same room might not be the best thing for anyone’s sanity.) At Mata, our multi-age classes also allow the child to develop leadership and empathy as a mentor, or benefit from the guidance of an older child.