Does it get any better?
At Acton, our Eagles, ages 4-16, are developing these world-needed characteristics while playing 4-square with one another. Separating children by age is an artifact of modern times. During most of human history, prior to our age-graded system of schooling, children nearly always played in age-mixed groups. In this way, the older children were often responsible to care for the younger ones.
These older Eagles don’t have to be forced to play with the younger ones, or vice versa. They are simply given the opportunity to.
The younger ones learn many lessons, like how to play the game, where they are weakest within the game, how to wait in line for their next turn, and how to respond in a sportsmanship manner when they are “out.” The older ones are encouraging, kind, and patient.
The older Eagles learn just as much as the younger ones, but in different ways. Some of the things they learn is to nurture the younger learners, practice leadership skills, and practice more kindness and compassion toward younger children - which in turn aids in them being more compassionate to peers their own age.
Age mixing allows older children to learn through teaching. And when we let them teach each other without interfering, youth feel respected and internalize the message that they have something to offer their community that is valuable and good.