My daughter is starting preschool next week. She is just going to be 2.9. I’m a little worried because the classroom that she will be going into is a mixed age room. We had a visit today and she is so little compared to some of the children! I’m worried about her being in the room with some of the older children. Will she hold her own? Will she pick up bad habits? Is this the right move?
Congrats on making it to preschool! This is a big step for you and your daughter! It can be exciting and also a little nerve-racking. That’s your baby going off to school and you have to entrust her to the care of others! It can be a lot to think about having your little girl, who is moving from toddlerhood into the preschool world, in with children who are at a different point of development. You have stated a hesitation about the mixed age room. This is a common worry for parents of children entering any type of classroom setting for the first time. Will they pick up bad habits or language from their peers? Will they fit in? Will they speak up? These anxieties can seem bigger when your child is in a room with children who are older. There are size differences and developmental differences in a mixed age room, but don’t worry the teachers are very aware. They plan and watch for these differences. This age diversity in the classroom can present challenges, but it also presents great opportunity! There are so many reasons why mixed age rooms are wonderful!
There are benefits for all of the ages in the 2.9-5 year-old classroom. The older children get to practice a lot of leadership. They are excited to be the ones who get to show off their knowledge of the classroom environment and their skills to their less experienced peers. Through time spent with younger children, they learn patience, nurturing and empathy. They develop skills that will help them become excellent mentors and strong leaders in the future.
The younger children, in turn, get to have the support of both adults and older peers in the classroom. It is remarkable how quickly young children learn from one another. The young ones pick up proficiencies like language, self-help and motor skills by observing their older role-models. The teachers in these rooms are skilled at providing activities that can be beneficial to any age or skill level. The newer children will have different take-aways from each activity than the more experienced children. In addition, the younger children will get to see how they can build upon their experiences in the future.
The time goes by so quickly that pretty soon your little girl will be the big 5 year-old! She will be taking a post-toddler peer under her wing and showing that child what preschool is all about! I think you will marvel at the skills a mixed age room can help your daughter acquire! Good luck!