Not only from adults, but there are so many things that children learn from each other. In her research of early childhood education, Dr. Lilian G. Katz, one of the greatest professors in the U.S., insisted that mixed-age grouping gives the children a highly attractive environment for education, and it is known all over in the U.S.
Recommending Mixed-Age Grouping
Mixed-Age Grouping needs Much Care
Even though method of mixed-age grouping has been recommended for its effectiveness for many years, it has not been popular. Many nurseries might only have little time for mixed-age communications enough to know its benefits. The reason they don’t adopt this method is as follows:
Mixed-Age Grouping requires big burden for teachers than single-age grouping.
Mixed-Age Grouping requires much care and responsibility for teachers.
Mixed-age grouping requires individual care to the children. In every play or in daily life, we must continually observe each child and be skillful. The teachers of Agape are all who work aggressively into something that is not so easy.
Unfortunately, in many nurseries in Japan, cannot afford to take that burden. Even though there are 1.18 million child-care professionals, only out of 64% are on the job at present, employee turnover rate indicates more than 10%, and more than half of the employees leave the job within 7 years. One of the reasons for this is that they are too busy and therefore they can’t afford to adopt mixed-age grouping. Still, Japan struggles with lack of child-care facilities and holds many children on waiting lists.
Mixed-Age Grouping nurtures richer relationship between children and they show various interests and growth you cannot see within single-age grouping.
Benefits for Older Children
- Showing kindness to younger children encourages the older children to gain confidence.
- They will be able to care, give help, look after, and place consideration to younger children very naturally.
- They will hand down their daily play and lifestyles as a result of being among younger children. To lead the younger children, they will be more creative and ingenious in their play. (To teach and learn)
- They will be more awareness as seniors, and they will be more highly motivated in activities.
Benefits for Younger Children
- The younger children emulate the older children with admiration and ignite their challenging spirit. (To see and learn)
- The younger children anticipate to grow up like older children, and they will learn to treat the younger ones as they once were. (To try and learn)
- They will show early independent spirit and self-esteem.
Benefits for Child-care Professionals
- Mixed-Age grouping nurtures our observing eyes because it requires much consideration and skills for the teachers to look upon individuals and features of children.
- It also nurtures our awareness of nursing as we must sense the significance of building up relationship with each child.
- When the children feel love from the teachers, the relationship between the teachers and the children deepens and nurtures deeper love.