Mixed-aged Setting

When making the decision to set up a early childhood education centre, Linda bought to it her extensive knowledge of early childhood through completing a Diploma at North Shore Teachers College, NZ Diploma through the Free Kindergarten Union and Bachelor of Education (Teaching), over 15 years of experience in ECE including lecturing at MIT, as well as raising four of her own children and being a part of Playcentre.

Every single decision is set upon with the most important aspect being achieving the best learning outcomes and environment for children.

We are a mixed-age setting, within a smaller centre. We are licenced for 37 children, including up to 7 under twos. This ensures our Teachers get to know you, your child and whaanau well. Building long term stable relationships and minimising the stress that can be caused by segregation and room changes.

A mixed age setting allows children to not be separated from, and to have continued interactions with siblings and other family members.
It allows children to build relationships with peers of different ages and develop empathy through the caring for others. It allows children of different ages and stages to learn from and assist those of different abilities to them.

Children under 2 years of age at Small Kauri:
-Older children with greater experience provide a rich model, for ways of play and building language. Modelling 'appropriate' use of materials i.e. sand, water play, playdough. Modelling building friendships and how to play with and alongside others.
-Teachers work alongside children to help model language and conversational skills.
-We provide opportunities for children to engage with a wider range of materials, therefore they are able to move and learn are their own pace.
-Being within a mixed aged setting allows for family groups to stay together.
-With a lower ratio of under twos we are able to dedicate more time to each child as an individual.

Children 2 and up at Small Kauri:
As well as those aspects listed above,
-Children develop empathy though caring for and playing alongside younger children.
-Children learn leadership and inclusion through helping those less able.

Before selecting a childcare centre it is important for you to consider the learning theory behind different approaches.Unfortunately different government level changes have had an impact on the quality of some childcare centres.Small Kauri continues to work to provide the highest quality centre. Maintaining a higher Teacher to child ratio, qualified and registered Early Childhood trained Teachers. Putting the learning and care of children ahead of anything else.

There is extensive research behind the mixed-age approach that puts forward mixed-aged settings as best practice.

'Younger and Older Together: Childrens interactions in a mixed-age early childhood centre' - A thesis by Tara Jan Fagan, Victoria University of Wellington (2009) http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10063/1057/thesis.pdf?sequence=1

'Understanding chices in the groupings of children within early childhood education: An Auckland based study of same-age/multi-age grouping arrangments' - A thesis by Aroha Beach, Unitec Institute of Technology (2013) http://unitec.researchbank.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10652/2353/Aroha%20Beach%20Final%20_2013-12-02.pdf?sequence=1