Because the B.E.N is a micro school, even though students are technically divided into rooms by age group, they spend a lot of time bonding as a whole. For our daughter this was a crucial piece of her transition puzzle. By allowing her lots of opportunities to interact and be in "leadership" style roles with the younger students, but also to be mentored by the older students whom she greatly admired, our daughter was able to navigate the social dynamics of school in a much more successful environment versus a traditional thirty kid kindergarten classroom. The physical structure of the school (with a large yard along with a separate mountain top style area) along with a sandbox, allowed students to mingle and play with students of a multitude of ages, abilities, and interests.
The children at the B.E.N. demonstrated a spirit children do when they feel loved and can be themselves - whether that be a high energy day, or a day they need to have quiet and be slower. As mentioned in other comments, the students spent time not only with their peers, but with older and younger children too. The older children don't act like the younger ones are annoying (although they might get annoyed or frustrated as we all do sometimes), rather they moved naturally into roles where they would care for them (like picking a younger one up who just fell and hugging them or cleaning a younger ones face after lunch). It is an amazing thing to see children arrive at school genuinely happy to be there, and to see my children happily go every day.
The small community and class sizes at the B.E.N. School-house create a beautiful space for children of all ages to really get to know, support and learn from one another. For most students, it seems like the school feels like a second home, and that they are part of a big family, working and learning together. My children enjoyed lots of opportunities to work with other students, while also having space to work independently. They also enjoyed engaging with and supporting the younger learners in ways that led them to greater empathy, and an incredible degree of emotional literacy. All of the students also have age-appropriate responsibilities that help the day run smoothly - by having everyone work together to make the school a space that's inviting and good for learning, students develop a healthy sense of responsibility, pride and belonging.
What we love about the BEN is the children aren't "segregated" by age or grade which we see happen at a lot of schools. Where it's not welcome for younger kids to play and interact with the older kids and vice versa. Our daughter loves being able to help the younger children when the opportunity arises and she takes such pride when she earns the privilege to attend a class in one of the higher grades for a couple hours. The younger grades all bring a share fruit each day which helps foster a greater sense of community and in addition each day and the practice of gratitude each day before snack and lunch where the children sing a short rhyming song to say thank-you for the food that's grown and our daughter loves this so much that she leads us in the song at home before dinner.
The vibe at the BEN School-House is a very positive and wholesome one. The children are very mature, grounded and very caring and respectful of one another, and the older children seem to take the younger children under their wing (they're encouraged to do so). For example, at a school fundraiser/bake sale, the older children each helped a younger child purchase things at the sale. The older kids also helped run/oraganize the fundraiser. There are special events several times per year - pancake breakfast, dinner theatre, etc. which allows for students of all ages to interact with each other and build community. The older children are excellent role models for my son and the other little children. It has meant so much to our family to be a part of this lovely community!