In the family environment, we all have the opportunity to be in contact with older and younger people than us. In the professional world is the same. Why only in school should people be segmented so rigidly, so that a difference of months can separate the student from the fellowship and the learning space of the colleague?
At Lumiar, we do not follow this serial logic because we believe that encounters between students of different ages promote, in addition to socialization, other types of learning. During participation in projects and workshops, they exchange ideas, share knowledge and inspire each other.
To assume this diverse organization from the point of view of age, in the understanding of the Lumiar Methodology, is to assume the perspective of complexity in the learning process – a prerequisite for the development of competences of the 21st century.
“We get rid of those paradigms that older people know more, that the older one teaches the younger, or that the one who knows the most teaches what they know the least,” says Graziela Miê, director of Lumiar Santo Antônio do Pinhal. “None of this is tight.”
Multiage: students grouped by cycles
At Lumiar, students are divided into cycles. In Kindergarten, we have I1 (zero to two years), I2 (2 to 3 years) and I3 (4 and 5 years). The Elementary School consists of Fundamental 1, which covers 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students; Fundamental 2, for students in grades 4, 5 and 6; and finally, Fundamental 3, with 7th, 8th and 9th grade students.
It is important to note that students who make up these groups remain formally linked to the school year equivalent to their age. Each year, they follow the subsequent school grades, even staying in cycles for up to three years.
Multiage in projects
In projects, the division of roles in multiage classes takes place naturally, stimulating student cooperation and opportunities for children to go beyond previous expectations. There are projects that are developed with children of a certain cycle and others that go beyond and unite students of different cycles.
At the Santo Antônio do Pinhal Unit, for example, the tutor Liss M. Mineiro Matos is developing a project on plants that includes students from the three cycles of elementary school. After understanding that all students were curious to learn more about the subject, Liss designed the Plantásticos.
The goal of this project is to address both microscopic (cell, photosynthesis) and macroscopic aspects (strategies for living in extreme environments, for example) of the plant universe.
“It may seem complex to bring together children with different learning expectations in the same group and in a project with the same theme, but it is not. It is stimulating and very rich,” says Liss. “The apprehension of content of an F1 child, on the same project and hearing the same things, is different from an F3 student. The tutor already has these expectations drawn separately.”
In the case of Plantásticos, Liss explains, although the skills to be developed by all are related to the development of environmental responsibility and to part-whole and whole-part interdependence, the contents to be assimilated will be different.
“I hope that an F1 child will learn simpler and more basic things, such as how plants relate to the environment and the different parts of the plants: root, stems, leaves, and for the F3 student I expect an understanding of photosynthesis and how the evolutionary process took place. “
This means that, in Lumiar Methodology, in addition to grouping the ages, multiage implies giving space to the diversity of hypotheses, strategies and possible referrals, making room to different formats of work partnerships among students.