Hi again, felicia, and thanks very much for your additional and helpful information.
Positive aspects: most children in this age range will be able to understand and follow directions; they will also respond favorably to positive reinforcement and rewards, while at the same time, punishments (taking away of pleasant activities) for not following directions/unruly behavior can be applied and understood; however, it must be kept in mind that all activities, positive reinforcement and punishments must be age appropriate. You would not use the same rewards for good behavior for a first grader, as you would for a 5th grader. Children of these ages are very 'communicable' and especially the older ones, can be reasoned with, whether during a lesson or when dealing with a behavior issue that needs to be modified. Another positive aspect is that the older kids can help the younger ones and 'peer-guided' assistance is great for all involved.
Negative aspects: The first and foremost negative aspect is the broad age range of these children. A 12 year old is much more mature than a 5 year old and possesses comprehension skills on a completely different level. A 5 year old may be shy and not yet used to socializing with kids his own age, while a 12 year old is a 'pre-teen/pre-adolescent' and hormones may already be raging in both boys and girls; this can be responsible for impulsive behavior and bad decision making. This also depends solely on the home environment of the children and how respectful they were taught to be with elders/authority figures.
Due to the large gap in age, each group of children in the same or similar age groups would need to be assigned activities which are age appropriate so they are not feeling frustrated with work that is too difficult, nor bored with work that is too easy anc not challenging enough.
Being 'prepared' is rule number one for the teacher/caregiver; being organized and planning out activities for each age group in advance, is the best way to keep control and make sure you do not have children with nothing to do at any time during the day.
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