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April 11, 2002

"Memory is not just the imprint of the past upon us; it is the keeper of what is meaningful for our deepest hopes and fears." —Rollo May


The Connection, the newsletter of Child Care in Health Care, includes a unique feature, "Benchmarking of the Moment", where CCHC members can submit questions for help from all other members. Recently Karen Taylor, director of the Malcolm Cole Child Care Center in Charlottesville, Virginia asked members advice on assuring that bonding occurs with fewer transitions for the youngest children. She shared some of the ideas members generated in a recent issue of The Connection (February 2002). We excerpt some of these ideas:

One person had a situation much like our current one.... We currently have as many as seven transitions from birth to age five and this program had as many as eleven. To lower numbers of transitions, they re-organized their age groups into birth-13 month, 14-30 month, and 3-5 years. Kids move up at the first of the school year. Infants and toddlers may have to move in March. The transition process extends over a month.

Karen through out the idea of "looping" with staff moving up with children to the next level. One director responded that looping didn't work for them because some staff really didn't like to work with another age group. Instead, they are considering mixed aged grouping from birth to age three. Karen noted that her program has been doing mixed aged groups for children ages 2-5 for several years and found that it "works beautifully". By doing this, the program has been able to limit children to five transitions from birth to age 5.

Another program noted that they group children from 6 weeks to 2 years together. At first they found this difficult because of the age range, but report that teachers and parents have come to love it because of the bonds that are formed. The teachers are challenged to meet the needs of children beyond the infant stage and that is viewed as a positive as it "keeps them on their toes."


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