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Seperating The Children


sharonash
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Advice please!!

 

We have approx 20 children between 2 rooms free flowing aged 2-5. Majority 2 yr olds.

 

Over the past few months we have been watching the children we really feel that some children need that little bit more ie 2 1/2 and 3years plus children. Does anyone else in a mixed age setting serpate their children at all or do you free flow altogether all the time.

 

We havent been seperating them at all maybe just for the odd story but the little ones just seem to be wrecking the older childrens play.

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We separate ours for 'group time' after snack time, but I'm finding more and more that the older ones (3-4s) are separating themselves and working as a unit now anyway, they have different toys - 'big children lego' and meccano etc and like to use those and are aware they can't use them with the 2 yr olds. We have put a divider up across the main room so that they can choose where they play, but as i say, they are choosing to separate anyway.

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I know what you mean, we are having a few problems at the moment but the other way round, our older children are building fantastic towers with bricks etc but our 2 yr olds are running over and knocking them over, which is upsetting the older ones...we also have about 4 older children whose behaviour is challenging at the moment but the 2 yr olds are now copying this behaviour.. for example at story time they run round the room screaming and the 2 yr olds copy.... can be quite a challenge... we are all in one room so quite hard to seperate... i wish you luck.. just wanted to let you know you are not alone!!!

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Advice please!!

 

We have approx 20 children between 2 rooms free flowing aged 2-5. Majority 2 yr olds.

 

Over the past few months we have been watching the children we really feel that some children need that little bit more ie 2 1/2 and 3years plus children. Does anyone else in a mixed age setting serpate their children at all or do you free flow altogether all the time.

 

We havent been seperating them at all maybe just for the odd story but the little ones just seem to be wrecking the older childrens play.

 

Hi Sharon,

 

It is always going to be hectic, and therefore a bit of a struggle at times, if your group is predominantly made up of 2 year olds. That is why the adult to child ratios are as they are - children on this age need watching constantly and adults need to be on hand to divert or step in to diffuse conflict all of the time. Maybe your expectations of what you are going to achieve with these children is slightly too high? Although they will have access, and therefore opportunity to develop in all areas, interactions with staff will mainly need to be around their personal, social and emotional development. Constant reinforcement about the need to respect the play that others are developing are part and parcel of this. I know that it may seem constant and perhaps that you are not making any progress, but each time an adult steps in to promote positive messages about sharing and taking turns, it is one step further in these children's development! :o

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we have children from 2 1/4 years to 4 1/2 and most of the time the children are together in "free flow" and then we separate them for 15 minutes at the end of a session (2 1/2 hours total). We have found this works well because we can choose appropriate games, stories etc. We have also chosen a couple of older children to go with the younger ones because they will benefit from being in a smaller group with more adult to child ratio. If you have two rooms like we have and enough staff then why not give it a go. It sounds like you have decided it would be worth trying yourself anyway.

Good Luck.

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we have 2 rooms, one smaller room is for 2-3 year olds and the larger room is for 3 years until they go to school. I find it works excellently and the pareents have all said they wouldn't send their child so early if we only had the big room.

 

If you think about it there is a lot of difference between a 2 year old and maybe a 4 and a half year old. Could you maybe section off your room? not completely but with maybe bookshelves/tables etc and try having the younger ones one side and the older ones the other? not ideal when there is only one room I know but if you don't try anything you don't find out I guess :)

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I'm just thinking about the home environment, we don't seperate siblings do we? My childrens ages range from 6 yrs to 14 yrs, yes they decide to go to their own 'space' within the house, but our rules are that bedroom doors etc are always open. They are all encouraged to ask permission from each other to 'go in each others space', this is equal in such the 14 yr old is expected to 'respect' the 6 yr old as much as vice versa, in other words, age doesn't have priority. In fact he older ones are encouraged to consider the developmental level of their younger siblings. ( one also having SEN, global evelopment delay).

 

We provide a good mix of 'resources' some appropriatte to each individual age/interest, others that enable 'shared play' ie: co-operative play that can be accessed by all of the children at the same time, for indoors and outdoor play.

 

My children happen to be fostered, when they came to us they didn't know how to play, let alone together, so this has been quite a challenge for the last 18 months since they arrived. They were all intolerant of each other, so to me the sooner children larn how to 'play' together, irrespective of age, yet also learn how to respect and understand each other the better. Obviously children under 5 yrs are still learning the 'others point of view' but I do believe this can be encouraged even at this young age. Believe me an egocentric 12 yr old is hard work! :o

 

So I think with some forthought, adult role modeling suitable resources for solo and co-operative play, patience and adult explanation for children to understand each other, plus enabling the children to sort out their own disagreements (don't step in too soon) a mixed group can be successful in many ways.

 

When I had my preschool we were in a large hall mixed ages from 2 yrs to 4.5 yrs.

Sometimes I do think that if we take 'problems' away from children (obviously with the best intentions in mind) we don't actually enable them to try to resolve them themselves (with support). I used to find we would come across this problem with children with spcial needs, how to enable inclusion yet cope with 'different' social behaviours. The children 'exposed' (for want of a better word) to the child with SEN had to learn inclusive lessons as much as the adults had to learn how to enable the whole group to be inclusive.

 

Peggy

 

Peggy

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