When you enter La Jolla Montessori School (LJMS), an independent preschool and Kindergarten, you’ll see students who are younger and older but learning together in multi-age classrooms.
It’s a core difference that illustrates how grouping students by age-range yields different results than grouping them by calendar year. Initiating a multi-age or peer-range classroom creates different dynamics within children.
So, Third Year students—who may be two or three years older than their First Year counterparts–build leadership and mentorship roles because they help teach their younger charges.
And these positive models transfer from academics towards social and emotional/behavioral (ASE) learning as this older/younger partnership continues throughout the school year.
Thus, a symbiotic relationship is formed. Independence and self-esteem are built into the older child while learning more—and more quickly—is instilled into the younger child.
Montessori teachers construct this desired dynamic by encouraging younger students to seek out older students for help and support.
As a result, the older child assumes a leadership and mentoring role.
Next, Montessori teachers challenge both sets of students through the use of open-ended materials; offering more challenging activities for older students; cultivating support and expectations in younger students; and developing relationships between the two groups.
Of course, Montessori differs from a traditional preschool where calendar year, same-age students are all taught the same thing at the same time, regardless of their level of understanding and without a student who has previously learned the material to offer help.
As a result, traditional kids are taught factually to gain a correct answer. By contrast, Montessori kids are taught individually and conceptually to find touchpoints towards potentially accurate responses.
In other words, one school teaches via memorization while the other teaches towards building thinking via reasoning. This is what separates not just age groups but learning pathways and channels towards mastery.
At its core, multi-age classrooms provide another layer of learning. At La Jolla Montessori School, an independent preschool and Kindergarten in La Jolla, this additional learning layer helps teachers, First Year and older students learn master topics individually and cooperatively.
At La Jolla Montessori School, children are taught individually, taught as adults, and taught dual language immersion from age three. Located minutes from I-5 at La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla Montessori School builds lifelong learners one day at a time.
Watch a virtual tour to see how your child can thrive: https://lajollamontessorischool.com/book-a-tour/