One way MTA is noticeably different from a traditional educational environment is our mixed age group classrooms.
The primary classroom, for example, services children 3 – 6 years.
No question about it – there are major skill and development differences between the youngest and oldest kids in that space.
So why on earth 🌎 do we do this? And is it hard to implement?
Yes. It’s actually really hard to implement correctly.
Immense amounts of work go into facilitating this type of atmosphere in a positive way for everyone.
And it’s not easy.
But it’s something we’re incredibly proud of.
The finished product produces children who are confident, ready to share with others, eager to ask for help (remember last week??), excited about their development, and able to navigate socially above and below their exact “age bracket”.
Walk into an MTA classroom and you’ll see. It’s common to find an older child giving a younger one a tip on how to complete an activity, or a younger one watching what his or her older classmate can accomplish with fascination.
This art of helping others (also known as “teaching”) is a skill. And just like any skill, it doesn’t come automatically to students.
It’s something they flex, like a muscle, and it grows every day they do so.
Watching the transition as children develop leadership and mentorship skills at a young age is simply amazing.
It’s no wonder they are enthusiastic to flex that proverbial muscle.
To paraphrase our sages,
“I have learned much from my teachers… but I’ve learned the most from my students” (Talmud).
Why might this be?
Perhaps because to teach something, you must learn to develop a degree of patience.
A degree of tolerance.
And a degree of empathy.
Does anyone think these are important skills to learn in school?
I, for one, do 🙋♂️.
Here’s to watching these young developing minds transform into the leader of tomorrow.