Mixed age group childcare is beneficial for early childhood educators because it allows them to really see what each individual child’s needs and interests are. Educators adapt the curriculum and their teaching strategies to support the children’s unique and diverse needs.
Advantages of mixed age group childcare:
Continuity of care: having a continuous caregiver, which allows for children to have fewer transitions
Interaction between older and younger children: allows for more opportunities for older children to interact with younger children and demonstrate new skills and for younger children to learn from the older children
In mixed age group childcare, educators encourage interactions and relationships among children of various ages (six months - 8 year olds). This gives older children the opportunity to show empathy, mentor and assist younger children. This builds their own sense of leadership and competence. Younger children can learn from older children and see them as role models. This fosters creative thinking, problem-solving and play.
By recognizing that every child develops and learns at their own pace, mixed age group child care creates many different opportunities. How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (link: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/HowLearningHappens.pdf) provides educators with the tools to plan and create safe and secure environments and developmentally appropriate experiences - especially for mixed age groups.