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In the Classroom: The Bumblebees

photo courtesy of the Doodlebugs

Bridging Mixed-ages

Parent Infant Center infant and young toddler classrooms are mixed-age groups. Working with mixed-age groups can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding.

In the Bumblebee classroom our children range from 2-months old to 21-months old. Whew! That is a vast difference!

Sometimes older children get really excited and can startle a baby. Yet, our toddlers also want to help care for the infants by feeding them, sticking their pacifiers in their mouths, "reading" to them, or even just playing with them. 

The infants motivate the toddlers and the toddlers support the infants. The toddlers learn by “teaching” the infants. This reinforces their own knowledge of the lesson at hand.

There are things as caregivers that we do to make our days run as smoothly as possible. We separate the children so they are able to do age-appropriate activities.

While separated, the young toddlers will practice their gross motor skills in tunnels. They play with puzzles and smaller toys for manipulation and fine motor skill practice. They also explore PIC's campus, shared motor spaces, and the outdoor tot lot. 

The infants when separated are usually getting tummy time, being fed, singing, reading books, or being rocked. We come together for art activities, morning meeting, special guest visits, and free play in the afternoon. 

Our mixed aged group classroom is a family! The best part of being a child in a mixed age group is that at one point they are literally the youngest, the middle, then the oldest. They get to experience all of these things in one classroom setting.

The best part of all? These children are learning at their own pace, through play and interactions in a safe place.

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