A major goal of multiage grouping is to promote Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP). Developmentally appropriate practices means providing curriculum and instruction that addresses the physical, social, intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic needs for young learners. It permits a student to progress through an integrated curriculum at the student's own rate. A larger age span in grouping is more reflective of a child's environment outside school where he or she interacts with a wide range of individuals.
In a multiage classroom, the interaction among students is especially valuable. Children helping children are influential in shaping their behavior. The act of teaching is the most powerful learning tool known. Individuals have the tendency to live up to the expectations that others have for them. Theorists talk about the benefit of spurring learning and development as a result of problem solving opportunities that occur between learners of different abilities. The multiage classrooms increase the opportunities for students to be problem solvers with students of a wide range of abilities. Learners benefit from each other through interaction in ways that cannot be accomplished alone. The children grow in self-esteem, confidence, and knowledge.
Planning involves teachers and students. A variety of materials are in use. Activities may be planned for whole groups, small groups, paired or individual instruction. Students work in cooperative study teams and share materials. A great deal of attention is directed toward the individual needs of each child. Teachers are facilitating and guiding in many situations and providing direct instruction at other times.
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