Choo Choo Train

Why Young Children Are Grouped According to Their Age in Choo Choo Train

In early childhood education, grouping refers to the ways young children are organized for play, learning, and instruction. Grouping aims to provide effective environments and interpersonal experiences to support children’s optimal growth and development. In child care centres, children are grouped chronologically by age. It is a statutory requirement, a licensing regulation. This grouping practice allows teachers and caregivers to focus their knowledge of children and child development on the specific-age group in their charge. There are six components of early group experiences: group size; quality of the physical environment; primary caregiving assignments; continuity of care; cultural and familial continuity; and meeting the needs of the individual within the group context. Let’s look at how it’s done in Choo Choo Train.

Group size

For children below 12 months of age, the group size is from six to twelve depending on the space area and the caregiver to baby ratio is 1:3.

For children above 12 months until 2 years old, the group size is from five to ten depending on space area and the caregiver to child ratio is 1:5.

For children above 2 years old until 3 years old, the group size is eight, and the teacher to child ratio is 1:8.

And for children above 3 years old, the group size is ten and the teacher-to-child ratio is 1:10.

These small group sizes mean fewer distractions and increased focus. Children are able to make connections, form caring relationships, and learn to understand each other.

Physical environment

Dangerous objects are removed from the area where infants and toddlers play. The rooms are spacious enough, air-conditioned, and have an air purifier, and the play materials are plenty. Our environment is designed and maintained to be safe, comfortable, and inviting for infants and toddlers to explore while caregivers give positive comments and encouragement.

Primary caregiving assignments

For each child is one primary caregiver with whom he or she builds an intimate relationship. It is not an exclusive thing but teamwork with another employed staff, usually, our supervisor who will go into each room from time to time every single day. We want children to feel they are important, they are heard, they are understood, they are protected, and there is abundant affection for everyone.

Continuity of care

Until a child reaches the age to switch groups or programs, he or she is taken care of by the same caregiver. This is the usual case unless the caregiver has to resign. This continuity of care builds trust and stability as the caregiver and child have known each other for a while. The child can express his or her needs subtly and the caregiver does not have to guess what he or she wants. Confusion and stress are reduced for both of them.

Cultural and familial continuity

Especially for infants, what they sense from their caregivers is incorporated into their definition of self. We try to be in harmony with what goes on at home by following the form and style of what is familiar to the child. We look into the child’s background and we do some self-reflection: what are the values that underlie our own beliefs? How can we take the parent’s point of view that is different than ours?

Meeting individual needs

Every child has their own rhythm. We recognize this; thus, we allow some flexibility in the daily routine. Some of these flexibilities include no child being forced to do what they refuse, no child is withheld from expressing an emotion or reaction as long as it is safe, potty training is only started when a child is ready, and more serving is given if the child requests for it or seem to want it.