Family grouping is the name given in an education and care setting to groups of children of mixed ages, and is so named as its composition more closely resembles that of a family, than the more popular choice of grouping children in care by age.
“The idea is neither novel nor rare, and indeed it may be an idea whose time has come, given trends in childrearing and family size, the increasing lengths of time children spend in child care outside of the home, and the increasing academic demands on younger children in pre-schools and kindergartens.”
(Lilian Katz et al – The case for mixed-age groupings in early education)
An important feature of a successfully grouped program is the understanding that everyday routines, as well as experiences or activities, are not only possible but can be beneficial for children and more interesting for the educators in a family grouped setting.
An environment that is responsive to the interests and abilities of each child, and caters for different learning capacities, most effectively supports the way children learn and develop. Therefore we believe that the Family Grouping structure provides the most appropriate setting to foster all areas of a child's early learning and development.
The benefits to the children are:
However, the benefits are not only for the children. Educators have a more varied and less stressful work day in the family grouped environment. The workload is evened out as the demands from different age groups varies. Educators and children can relate in different ways depending on the situation and age and stage of the child.
Another feature of family grouping that benefits all concerned is that there is no beginning or ending to each year. The evolving nature of family grouping and the continuous booking system that we have in place will ensure that our programs operate smoothly all year round.
As you can see, family grouping has many benefits to the children, their families and the educators, and as this approach is based on the principle of consistency and continuity of care for children, it enables us to provide your child with an environment that they not only can feel safe and secure in, but one which they can develop a sense of belonging.
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