Same age groups

In general, there are two ways of dividing children into groups in childcare.

  1. Same age: children of about the same age form one group.
  2. Mixed age: children aged 0-4 years are placed in one group. 

Plukkebol has consciously chosen same age groups because it gets the best out of the children and is the safest.

Same age groups

  • Safe: toys and equipment for older children can be dangerous for babies. Everything in the baby group is appropriate and safe for the littlest ones.
  • Stress: the noise and energy of bigger children can create an excitable environment for babies. Our baby group is calm and relaxing.
  • Specialists: our employees are specialised in the development phase of the groups in which they work. They are trained and coached for their specific groups.
  • Commonality: as children are grouped with other children in the same development phase, they have many shared needs. Our employees are able to fully understand and relate to the children’s development needs and provide appropriate stimulation and activities.
  • Challenging and stimulating: the children are challenged and stimulated appropriately at each age. This is especially important for the older toddlers that mostly want to do activities together with their age cohorts. These children can get bored in mixed age groups. As they get older the time that they will go to big school approaches. At Plukkebol, we cater for this new phase in our pre-school plus programme. 

The disadvantages of same age groups in childcare

While there are some disadvantages in grouping children according to age, Plukkebol believes that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. We address some of the issues that we have heard below.

 “Mixed age childcare better represents family situations and children of different ages learn from each other.”

Disagree. Families with 12 children aged from 0 to four years with two or three adults are a rarity. Good, responsible childcare has an added value for children’s development. Meeting the needs of the children’s development in one group that is so diverse and where the needs are so different is very hard, if not impossible. We often hear from our employees who previously worked in mixed age groups that it is unavoidable that some children do not receive the attention they need. Of course children learn from each other! And they do so in their own age groups too. If we take the toddler group for example, children in this age group develop so quickly that there is quite a big difference between children aged two years and those aged two-and-a-half. But even at Plukkebol, children of different ages meet. The little ones of one or two years meet toddlers of three or four in the playground and have ample opportunity to play and learn from each other.

 “Mixed age childcare is better for bonding as children stay longer with the same employees.”

Disagree. It is true that children in mixed age groups experience fewer staff changes in their first four years as they stay in the same group for four years. However, we do question the quality and intensity of those relationships as there is much more activity and movement in the groups, the carers’ attention is diverted and they have more tasks to do.