Multiage learning environments in the secondary Montessori classroom
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Developing a successful multiage learning environment in an emerging urban, public, Montessori middle school has its challenges. However this challenge is overshadowed by the benefits this type of community fosters. Multiage learning environments provide students opportunities for peer learning, collaboration and development of leadership skills. Students will continue to develop the work of their minds, hands and hearts throughout their adolescent years, contributing their progressions to others in the multi-grade learning community. This study examines and explores the effects of various instructional, grouping, and interdisciplinary strategies on middle school Montessori classes with age grouping. The focus of this study is restricted to grades sixth through eighth. Strategies implemented and studied include routine work-time expectations, seating arrangements and charts and collaborative projects and assignments. The study is an examination of qualitative observations and is a quantitative analysis of a student survey on multi-grade learning environments. The success of different strategies was determined by student engagement, work completion, participation in small groups, and the student survey.