Authentic Montessori programs occur in 3-year cycles; the two preschool years and the Kindergarten year children all together in one classroom that WEM calls the Early Childhood Program. The same 3-year cycle carries over into the WEM Lower and Upper Elementary programs where students in either 1st to 3rd grade or 4th to 6th grade share a single classroom. In WEM multi-age classrooms, students inspire students. Students of all ages naturally absorb the lessons being given around them. Individual instruction deepens learning intensity, and movement and student-driven discovery fuel academic and social development.
This structure offers many benefits. Children can progress at their own pace without grade level stigma. Younger children learn from older children and aspire to do what they are doing. In turn, older children further their mastery of subject matter and receive immeasurable academic confidence by acting as teachers to younger children. Mixed-aged classrooms also assist in developing more persuasive social and emotional skills by creating classroom “societies” where all children have input and agree upon the rules that will govern their community.
Authentic, mixed-aged Montessori classrooms are vibrant with developmentally appropriate materials, teaching methodologies, and individualized instruction. Intellectually rigorous yet nurturing, WEM programs are carefully designed to help each child successfully make the journey from wonder-filled childhood to self-assured, optimistic adulthood.