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Why are day nurseries organised by age groups?


jennyjenkinz
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Hello, a bit of a random question but I have been thinking about day nurseries and similar organisations and am trying to find information or research which explains why children are grouped by age range. Apart from the obvious ratio's that are legally required is there any other reasons why they are organised like this? Do you know of any settings which organise the care for children by different groupings? I'm thinking of mixed age/ability groups that stay with each other for longer period of time...therefore reducing the need for transitions within the typical nursery/school yearly cycle. Any ideas welcomed received!

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Not sure about research, but I work in full day care setting for children aged 2-5 years we have 3 rooms and the children have free flow between the three rooms. We find this works well for us in our setting we have a art /messy play room, a room with a book area, a. Computer and a home/role play area, and a another room with a graphics are, maths area investigation are, construction area and small world play. I hope this make sense, if you would like any more information you can pm if you would like

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i dont deal with the under two's but im sure ive read that the under 18 months groups have to be given their own area....though they can have access to the other areas....this might have something to do with some of the splits?

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I think we are seeing trends which change over time. Most of our nurseries have a separate baby room (although not all). Quite a few have then combined toddlers and preschools to one space for 2-5. Interesting that some have now gone back to the separate spaces. I think for some, the growing size of their 2 year group and their differing needs has led them to conclude this. However, it can also work incredibly well having them together, so sibling can be together and older children like that responsibility of supporting and helping younger ones. Much depends on the physical space and the staff skills I think. As to actual research, nothing springs to mind immediately about which is better or leads to better outcomes for children, but Im sure settings that have made this change one way or the other (or both) will have their own experiences of what makes the difference.

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Don't know much about the under 3's but I would have thought it was something to do with their needs and the provision that you want to offer to both the younger children and the older children e.g. there are certain little things that with under 3's you would not want to use unless 1 to 1 but want to have available for your 3-5's?

Having said that, there is a setting near us that uses 'family groups' - so children are put in a mixed age group that stay together - I can't remember how many are in each group but they seem to work it successfully. As always, if you can show that you have good outcomes for the children and that they make good progress, I'm not sure that either way can be insisted upon!

Green Hippo x

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I think a lot of it is historic - Statutory framework says that there should be a seperate baby room for the under 2s, but ensure they can have times with older children. I also think that some buildings used for day care especially older buildings with small rooms make it easier to seperate on age ranges, where as some of our new provisions with purpose built buildings ensure that although age ranges have seperate rooms they all have freeflow or doors for easy acess to each room and combined outside play areas.

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One near me (there extending and opening another one) don't. Children have free flow of the building from babies to preschoolers

 

We used to be free flow which I loved - 2 rooms with adjoining door but colleague wanted to try splitting to age groups

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the only thing on the statutory framework is this.....

3.58 Provision must be made (space or partitioned area) for children who

wish to relax, play quietly or sleep, equipped with appropriate furniture.

Sleeping children must be frequently checked. Except in childminding

settings, there should be a separate baby room for children under the age of

two.

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If I ran a day nursery I would have rooms of mixed ages, similar to the ones seen in Norway, they were more home from home eating playing together just dividing up for some adult led activities these children were there from 6 to 6 mostly I remember. Aged from babies until 6/7 when they left Kindergarten to go to school

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Guest sn0wdr0p

Have a look at the Steiner approach to nurseries who take a more family grouping approach. Lots of the Steiner elements I don't agree with but I do like this aspect of care. I own a nursery and out of school club and the building houses one smaller room where we have the under twos. A large play hall where the 3 years and up go (joined by out of school children before and after school) and a another room for our eights and over. During the day when the out of school children are at school we regularly bring the children from the baby room through. It's hard work but parents and children love it and it works for us.

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I've looked into the scandanavian approach and think there are alot of benefits to it. We'vre recently brought our 20+ months through to be with our older children, they can go back into the dedicated baby room if they wish, but it helps with transitions, siblings and helping the children grow. There is a nursery in Halifax I think that use 'family rooms'

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