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Patterns of Age Mixing and Gender Mixing Among Children and Adolescents at an Ungraded Democratic School

Peter Gray and Jay Feldman
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 43, No. 1 (January 1997), pp. 67-86
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093728
Page Count: 20
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Patterns of Age Mixing and Gender Mixing Among Children and Adolescents at an Ungraded Democratic School
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Abstract

The frequencies of age mixing and gender mixing were observed among students, age 4 to 19, at an ungraded, democratically structured school where the students move about freely and direct their own activities. Age mixing (across a span of at least 24 months) was more frequent for the 12- to 15-year-olds than for the 8- to 11-or 16- to 19-year-olds and was less frequent for conversations than for activities (mostly play) other than conversation. Gender mixing was less frequent for the 8- to 11-year-olds than for any other age group and was more frequent for conversations than for other activities. For students observed with companions of both sexes, the mean age difference from opposite sex companions was greater than that from same-sex companions. The results are discussed in relation to ideas about the possible developmental functions of such mixing.

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