Changing from Single-Age Groups to Mixed-Age Groups

Preparation of center staff and parents to embrace a different program model is fundamental to a successful transition to mixed-age groups for infants and toddlers from single age groups.   

After successful center staff orientation, centers need to communicate formally and informally upcoming changes in the cassroom program. Teachers and directors should offer ample opportunities for parents to ask questions. Parents can then hear from staff personally about the value of continuity of care and primary care giving for their children.  

 Questions to Consider for Planning and Programming when Changing to Mixed-aged Groups:

  • What does the program staff understand about the process of early learning and early relationships?
  • What kinds of trainings does the program offer about continuity of care and primary caregiving?
  • How do the organizational structure and personnel policies of the agency support continuity of care?
  • How does the staff feel about working with restricted or expanded age groups?
  • Does the staff have the range of skills needed to work with mixed-age groups or the range of the first three years of life?
  • How does the program support children and families when caregivers leave?
  • How do licensing, accreditation, and public subsidy reimbursement requirements impact the plan for continuity?
  • How can the program modify the physical environment in the classroom to allow for continuity?