There are many articles that deal with whether you really need to enrol your child in a preschool or not, and what are the benefits you get from doing and not doing so. There are also sufficient articles on what are the criteria for picking the better preschools, as well as what you should do in order to avoid giving your child a far from pleasant preschool life. However, there are certain other topics that also revolve around preschools, and one interesting such topic is the debate on mixed age versus single age classes at the preschool. If you have either never heard of this differentiation at the preschool, or are actually looking into which institution is a better match for your child, you might want to take a look at the expositions given below.
To start with, mixed age classrooms refer to preschools where children of different ages (usually children of ages three, four and five) are kept together in a single classroom and educated together – just as you would see done in the rural schools. Single age classrooms are simply your average classrooms which are divided on the basis of age. At first glance – and even consideration – there is no doubt that you will naturally be inclined to discard the idea of mixed age classrooms, even if they are found at the in the top preschools. After all, you do not find the mixing of ages at the primary and secondary levels (at best, you can find children with a difference of one year at most), as the capacity of children greatly varies with age.
Nonetheless, there is a reason why mixed age classrooms can be found at the preschool level: preschool education in Singapore does not place an emphasis on actual studies, but is more of an environment to allow the social and emotional traits of your child to develop. If you were to think about this, mixed age classrooms start to make much more sense. By combining children of different ages, these institutions give the younger children valuable role models from which they may gain valuable language and cognitive skills. On the other hand, the older children can learn to take care of younger children, thereby learning valuable leadership and social skills.
Of course, there is also the question of certain undesirable traits being picked up in a mixed age classroom. Furthermore, it is more difficult to provide age-specific learning experiences in a mixed classroom – a single age classroom can easily focus on the particular age and cater to it. However, single age classrooms are not capable of providing the aforementioned social stimuli available in a mixed age classroom, hence why the debate is still ongoing. As a parent, you can value the advantages each has, and pick a choice, keeping in mind the personality and nature of your child.