Caring for multiple age groups

Many child care providers face the challenge of caring for a variety of ages.

In situations such as these, it can be difficult to create environments and plan activities that meet the needs and interests of all children. However, mixed age grouping also has benefits. Younger children often learn from watching older children. In return, older children learn skills such as patience, nurturing, and problem solving skills when with younger children. It is important to offer a large variety of choices. Children learn through play. Offering a wide range of activities and materials will allow the children to decide what interests them. Materials such as blocks and art supplies give children a chance to use their imagination and to create their own experiences.

It is also important to maintain a flexible schedule. Providing a safe place for younger children to nap away from playing children may be required. A quiet place for concentrating on homework may be helpful for school age children. You may also need to provide separate meals/snacks to meet the needs of all children.

For structured learning time, consider focusing on individual or small group instruction. Remaining flexible and open-minded will provide a positive experience for you and the children.