Multiage groups are the natural order of the world. Separation into age groups is a system imposed by adults (Beatrice Whiting, 1963).
The quality of children's social competence accurately predicts academic as well as social competence in later grades (Jeffrey Parker and Steven Asher, 1987).
Multiage cooperative groups promote thinking, learning, remembering, enjoyment, productivity, more time on task. Conflict and discussion result in deeper understandings, listening, expression, and synthesis (Johnson and Johnson, 1984; Johnson, 1991; Ames, 1992).
- Children who assist or tutor another child increase the depth and organization of their knowledge (Bargh and Shul, 1980).
- The most fruitful experience in a child's education is her collaboration with more experienced or skilled partners (Lev Vygotsky, 1978).
Younger children demonstrate more mature and cognitively complex play, more independence, and more complex speech when relating to older peers.
Older children paired with younger resulted in more complex modes of play, more complex and frequent social interactions to younger children than same age peers (Jane Golman, 1981; Nina Mounts and Jaipul Roopnarine, 1987; Carolee Howes and Joann Farver, 1987).
Interaction with younger children elicits greater rates of prosocial behaviors: practice in parenting, caretaking, and altruism.
Children experience greater isolation in same-age rather than multiage classrooms (Joseph Adams, 1953; John Zerby, 1961).
When classrooms are made up of children who are highly similar to one another, there are more social "stars" but also more children who are rejected and/or neglected by their peers (Susan Rosenholtz and Carl Simpson, 1984).
Leadership behavior of older children in mixed-age groups was facilitative rather than dominating and bullying (Anne Stright and Doran French, 1988).
Children who are shy or withdrawn made significant and lasting increases in prosocial behavior when paired with younger children (Furman, Rahe, and Hartup, 1979).
To be low child in the pecking order in a multiage group may be uncomfortable, but a child knows that in two or three years her place in the hierarchy will change.
Children in a same-age class may be more likely to regard their status as a stable reflection of their worth and acceptance (Penelle Chase and Jane Doan, 1994).
Traditional, graded programs resemble a "factory" model of education. Children are treated as objects that, when subjected to uniform treatment, will yield uniform results (Lillian Katz, 1993).