Threes / Pre-K Mixed Age
Minimum Age: Three years by September 1
Co-Op Participation: Once or twice per month
|9:00 – 12:00
|9:00 – 4:00
|M T W Th F
|9:00 – 12:00
|9:00 – 4:00
Young children learn within the context of relationships, as they observe and connect with parents, caregivers and peers. When these social connections take place between early learners of different ages,the result can be especially positive for children’s social learning and skill-building.
Why Consider Mixed Age Learning?
- Mixed-Age Play Impacts Kindness and Compassion
Research shows that older children who have more contact with younger children tend to be kinder,
not just kinder to younger children but kinder to others overall. When children play together in mixed
age groups, they are constantly adjusting their behavior to meet the needs of the various ages in the
When this happens children change how they speak, how they act, and what they expect from others.
Younger children who would often have a hard time regulating their emotions might see older students dealing with similar disappointments and mimic how they are handling the situation. Older children, who might normally exhibit behaviors inappropriate for younger children will step up because they understand the importance of being a role model.
- Social / Emotional Well-Being
Young children can learn a variety of new skills by watching and trying to keep up with their older
peers. By mixing age groups in the classroom, younger children benefit from the skill sets of their older
classmates and are pulled in to play in more advanced ways than they could with their same-aged
peers. Young children also thrive socially and emotionally under the care and support of older, more
One of the most exciting benefits of mixed-age classrooms is that younger students become
interested in trying things their older classmates are engaged in. Often supported in their endeavors
by the older classmates, younger children can be pushed beyond their comfort level.
- Leadership & Empathy
When Pre-K aged children have a chance to interact with younger children, they get to discover and
express their leadership abilities by showing their younger peers how to practice newly acquired skills.
Sharing their own experiences can help older children become more understanding of differences in skill levels while also developing a sense of empathy for little ones. Mixed age classes can provide older children with the opportunity to be helpful, patient, and tolerant of younger peers’ competencies,
thereby bolstering their compassion and self-confidence.