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Remind me again why mixed ages is good...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
DD is 3 yrs old and started at a Montessori preschool in Sept. I love the M model and thought the idea of her being in a classroom with 3,4,5 and 6 yr olds was great.

But the only side of the mixed ages that I get to see is when she comes home every day with new things she's learned from them. Some days it is just an attitude, I can't think of a way to describe it but she's just kind of got attitude. Other days she comes home with phrases like "Batman poopy" and yells them over and over and over again all day long. (She'd never even heard of batman before this, and certainly never used the word "poopy").

Now, I don't mean to sound all prim about it. I do know that this kind of stuff is inevitable. But I really don't think DD would be doing this stuff for at least another year if she wasn't in Montessori. I feel like she's losing her innocence of young childhood too fast.

Please remind me why it is good for her to be in a class with older kids. Obviously I can understand on an intellectual level that she must learn good stuff from them too. I just seem to lose sight of that when see what she comes home with.
post #2 of 9
All I know is that kids learn those things at school, regardless of whether they are in mixed-aged classes or not. My ds went to a traditional preschool last year when he was 3 and came home with lovely phrases and attitude that he didn't get from home. Other kids have older siblings and take it to school, much to my dismay. Sooo....all those wonderful things you know about the mixed-ages classrooms far outweigh (imho) those of traditional settings because they are getting a lot of good...with the bad (that would be there anyway).
post #3 of 9
DS isn't three yet, so he is doing a year in a modified toddler class of just 2 yo. He's been mumbling and doing toddlery talk since he started, no matter what kind of class your LO is in they will pick up speech patterns from classmates you would prefer they didn't.
post #4 of 9
Is DD your only/oldest? I ask b/c even if she went to school with only other 3yo children chances are some of them would have older siblings that they had picked up similar behavior from. Or she could even be exposed to this kind of behavior simply because other parents don't parent in the way you do and they allow *their* 3yo children to speak/act like that. Unfortunately it's probably not something you can prevent. Just continue to model the behavior you want and I'm sure things will work out.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know you are right, she'd be getting this at school anyway. But last year she was in a diff preschool with just her age and while she did come home with new words etc, I felt that it was in step with her age. Now that she's at M she comes home every. single. day. with new phrases/behaviors that surprise me. And she clearly finds the older kids so "cool" she's very very eager to emulate them.
post #6 of 9
Here are a few reasons:

- older children modeling advanced work (and yes, advanced obnoxiousness sometimes...) Even if younger children aren't ready to do the harder work, they see it and look forward to doing it.
- greater ability to group children according to ability (younger children working with older if needed, and vice-versa) provides for more advanced work, and/or remediation as needed.
- just a small new group of young children each year, rest of class hits the ground running at the start of the year so classroom is running smoother, sooner.
- spending three years in the same classroom with the same teacher builds a strong community between children, teachers, and parents.
- children experience the progression of materials from very first introductory lessons to higher-level work, progressing through new materials or progressing through concepts with same materials.
- older children are proud to reach that point of being the leaders in the classroom, and often enjoy and benefit from helping the younger children.
- if they stick with Montessori, they start all over again in 1st grade being the youngest in the class, once again exposed to higher level work and that anticipation of becoming the leaders.

There are more reasons I'm not coming up with off the top of my head, but hopefully others can come up with more to reassure you that the good far outweighs the bad! But as I always say...I'm biased from teaching Montessori for so long - wouldn't know what do do with just one age group!
post #7 of 9
You're bringing up stuff that needs to be brought to the attention of your teachers. We can't hear every conversation and the children know when we can't hear them, so the teachers need you to help them. It should be addressed in group and the teachers will likely turn on their ears to pick up on key words or phrases being said to step in immediately.

That's, at least, how I would handle it.
post #8 of 9
Children often "try out" new behaviors - it won't continue if you don't give it alot of attention but I can understand how it can be concerning. Bring it up to the Directress if it gets out of hand.
post #9 of 9
dd has learned some unruly behavior, guns and swordfighting but she has also learned a lot social wise. she's eager to be like the older kids so that encourages her to pay attention. also the neg behavior is a phase, potty humor is really big right now. i dont make a big deal of it, tell her that potty humor is for the bathroom. if i over react she does it more.
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