"Although humans are not usually born in litters, we seem to insist that they be educated in them." - Lillian Katz, Ph.D.

Research supporting mixed-age classrooms indicates that academic achievement is the same as, or better than, the academic achievement of children in same-grade (age) classrooms. Mixed-age classrooms do not negatively affect student achievement, and students in these classrooms have significantly more positive attitudes toward school, themselves, and others (Stone, 1998; Veenman, 1996). Here are some of the benefits of mixed-age classes in Music Together.

  • Children are viewed as unique individuals, each with his or her own unique learning style. The teacher focuses on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths, unlike in same-age classrooms that often expect all children to be at the same place at the same time with regard to ability.
  • Children learn at their own rate with no peer pressure.
  • Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a "family of learners" who support and care for each other.
  • Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
  • Children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
  • Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
  • Children are invited to take charge of their learning, by making choices within the context of music activities. This sense of "ownership" and self-direction is the foundation for lifelong learning.