Mixed Age Classes
In the family, in the workplace and society as a whole we are in constant interaction with those that are older or younger. Children in traditional schools are the only members of society segregated by age. A mixed-age environment is an important feature of Montessori education. Since the children need different environments at different stages in their development, classes are mixed within bands, for example, 0-3 yrs, 3-6 yrs, 6-12 yrs or 12-15yrs.
The mixed aged classes allow the younger child to observe the work of their older peers, while giving the older children an opportunity to reinforce their understanding of their younger peers while they help them. Cooperation replaces competition as the driving force within these minisocieties.