What are the Benefits?
We firmly believe that the family grouped environment provides an appropriate setting to foster all areas of your child’s development
- Language development occurs very well in mixed age groups where children act as role models for others with fewer language skills. In family groups, the younger child is surrounded with language interactions of various levels and complexity, and as a result, may often develop language skills more rapidly than their peers in age group care.
- Social and emotional development occurs appropriately in a family grouped setting. New children settle more easily and feel secure with help from siblings, and older children. The settled children help guide children who are new to the setting to learn what happens during the day, and in the process develop their own self-esteem and self-confidence. They model sharing and turn-taking for new or younger children. A less out-going child can relax and interact more comfortably with younger children.
- Fewer behavioural problems are a common feature of family grouping. Children of varying ages do not have to compete for the same play equipment as their play interests are often very different, and they tend to interact in more positive social ways. There is less aggression and more nurturing of others. In family groups children learn more positive behaviours from a wider age range of children.
- Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a "family of learners" who support and care for each other. Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
- The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
- Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
- Physical and intellectual development is also well provided for in a family grouped setting, since each child is able to play and learn at their own pace. Children learn to accept and respect others’ abilities and can themselves attempt any experience without embarrassment or a sense of failure. Older children are able to model appropriate play and problem solving to younger children while mastering and extending their own development.
- Staff have a more varied and less stressful work day in the family grouped environment. The workload is evened out as the demands from different age groups varies. Staff and children can relate in different ways depending on the situation and age and stage of the child.
As you can see, family grouping has many benefits to the children, their families and the staff, and as this approach is based on the principle of consistency and continuity of care for children, it enables us to provide your child with an environment that they not only can feel safe and secure in, but one which they can develop a sense of belonging.