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2ndFamilyDC
12-15-2011, 11:58 AM
I have a 15 mth old girl in my dc.
When she turned one I put her in a "toddler zone".
I did it to keep the older kids happy. So she couldn't
constantly grab their toys, dump the buckets of toys
and to keep her safe from the wild boys running and knocking
her over.
I felt that for the older kids sake it was best if she had
her own space.
I would put her in their for about 90 minutes in the morning
and about 45 min. in the afternoon. She was fine in there.

Well the dcm does not like her in there. She feels that
her dd being isolated is so sad.

I kept her out this morning to see how things would go
and it was a nightmare. The older kids were all frustrated
and she was a terror. Obviously she has been with the other
kids, but just not for so long, in my opinion it did not go well.

What would you all do? continue to use the toddler zone for her
or keep her out amongst the other kids all day? What to tell the mom?

Cat Herder
12-15-2011, 12:03 PM
What to tell the mom?

Tell her to google the death and morbidity rate of toddlers with a femur or skull fracture. :cool:

mismatchedsocks
12-15-2011, 12:04 PM
What is a toddler zone? Is she within sight/sound of them?

do you have to tell mom anything!? Just say everything is going well now, and do what works for YOUR center??

daycare
12-15-2011, 12:05 PM
do you have any kind of circle time? or class time of any kind?

I also did the same thing. BUT I would have the group join all together at circle time, reading time, dancing time, art time, etc.

When it was free play and I needed to be in the kitchen, I would have her in the toddler zone for about 15 min or so. (about 3 to 4times a day) Then when we have free play and I am in the back room, I show the kids how to play with someone younger. I feel that it is important that they learn to socialize with children of all ages, both ways.

I don't think it's a good idea to have her isolated away from the group all day. Who is she to learn to play with and talk with? How will she learn to interact and share with?

Try to have them all play together more and only have her in the toddler zone when you can't have your eyes on them 100%...

SilverSabre25
12-15-2011, 12:09 PM
dcg just LOVES having her own special play space all to herself! She has all her favorite toys in there that she can play with without the bigger kids getting in her way and messing up what she's trying to do! She gets to play with her own special stuff and do it safely, while the big kids get to play with their toys that would only frustrate dcg or be unsafe her her. Dcg gets to be with the whole group during [outside time, circle time, meal time, whatever] but otherwise LOVES her own special space!

AnneCordelia
12-15-2011, 12:09 PM
I have a toddler zone too. My livingroom is joined to my diningroom...they are the same 'space' with no dividers or walls. My diningroom is converted into my daycare space...table, supplies, ect. I got a 10' gate to seperate the spaces and now the toddlers are in the livingroom with the preschoolers in the diningroom. They can see, hear and touch each other...they just can't trample each other, and the toddlers don't have access to dump toy buckets.

It's awesome and works great for us. We also eat together, have circle time together, ect. So I don't feel they are 'isolated' at all.

cheerfuldom
12-15-2011, 12:16 PM
Let her know that this is what works in your daycare setting and you are working on teaching her appropriate play and social skills so the goal is, eventually, for her to be with the group 100% of the time down the road. The toddler zone is a temporary option to keep her safe and provide age appropriate toys and play space. Do not tell her the specific times the zone is used, just that you use it when you have to have a safe space for her. Make sure to let her know all the positives about the area

daycare
12-15-2011, 12:18 PM
Let her know that this is what works in your daycare setting and you are working on teaching her appropriate play and social skills so the goal is, eventually, for her to be with the group 100% of the time down the road. The toddler zone is a temporary option to keep her safe and provide age appropriate toys and play space. Do not tell her the specific times the zone is used, just that you use it when you have to have a safe space for her. Make sure to let her know all the positives about the area
I dont have a like button!! yes to what cheerfuldom said!!!

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:19 PM
I know I'll be the odd man out here, as usual, but I agree with Mom. It IS isolating her. It is also not helping her learn how to interact appropriately with the rest of the group. She will never learn if she doesn't have ample opportunity to do so. It doesn't matter if it is now or later that she is allowed to join, she will STILL have to learn appropriate social interactions....I say the sooner, the better.

I would get rid of the toddler zone, and consistently work with her to help her learn how to interact with the older children, and I would also be teaching the older children to be accomodating and helpful to her.

FTR....in 15 years I have never separated the infants/toddlers from the older children. They learn, just as siblings at home, to work and play together and to accomdate one another.

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:20 PM
Curious, when Mom interviewed with you, was she aware that you used a "toddler zone" or is this a new thing in your program, for her child?

daycare
12-15-2011, 12:21 PM
Opps, sorry I forgot to attach. Crystal this was for you...



this is pretty much what I said as well....But what would you do with this child at this age when you are cooking food or prepping and you can't have your eyes on them? Do you leave them in the room all together??

Blackcat31
12-15-2011, 12:26 PM
I agree with the fact that the older kids need some space to play without littles knocking down their buildings and such HOWEVER, it is isolating the toddler. She will never learn appropriate social skills or how to interact with others if she isn't given the opportunity to do so.

My space is set up so that 75% of it is for mixed age groups and there is one space the older kids (in groups of 2 or 3 ) can choose to go and play with items/toys that have small pieces. It is my older kids who are allowed to be separated and not the other way around.

I also agree that if mom was told this during enrollment, then she really shouldn't be complaining now, however if it is somehting new, I guess I would be upset too.

The older kids also need experience in how to solve social conflicts as well, one of which is younger children and everything that comes along with them.

wdmmom
12-15-2011, 12:28 PM
The "Toddler Zone" was implemented to protect DCG from the bigger kids. Tell her that she isn't in there all day...only during free play times and as she gets older, her time in the "Toddler Zone" decreases. You are training her on how to play and BE SAFE around the bigger kids.

Once the mom realizes that the zone isn't used as a form of punishment but rather as a form of safety, I think she'd be more than understanding.

Heidi
12-15-2011, 12:33 PM
I have 15 mo old twins in my group, and without the toddler zone, things would be awesomely miserable. It keeps us all sane, and it is a space where I rarely have to say "no", other than to pounding each other (again, they are twins).

My older children are still learning limits, like not touching the christmas tree, or jumping on the sofa. The younger ones can come out with the older group for a few minutes at a time, but I have to be right there, and then it's still usually mayhem.

I totally get what Crystal is saying, but again, it's about balance. Of course they need to learn to socialize, and of course they need to respect boundries, but the older children need to be able to play undisturbed sometimes. It's one of the challenges of having a mixed age group.

I would let mom know that she is happy to have her own space, and that her time "alone" is limited. My dc mom LOVED that her boys had their own space, and wished for one at home. But then, 4 of 5 of these kids are hers, so she knows what it's like when they are all "on the loose"

cheerfuldom
12-15-2011, 12:34 PM
The OP said she wasn't there all the time. This was an option she created to give the big kids some time without having a young one wreck havoc on their projects and such. I can see the benefits to do a zone and to not do the zone but in this case, the OP wasn't asking if she should or should not do one.....she already has one going, it works for her and her group, the only one that doesn't like it is mom. I understand the mom's point of view but just because mom feels that way does not mean that the provider has to change anything. I think the mom would come around to it when she realizes that her child isn't isolated (all alone) but separated on occasion.

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:40 PM
Actually, the OP said she started using the toddler zone for the bigger kids so the toddler is not dumping/knocking stuff over, etc. She did not say she is using it to protect the toddler, but rather to protect the older children. IMO, that is just avoiding having to deal with teaching appropriate behavior and not having to clean up the mess. I'm sure a few minutes here and there are for safety, but that was not the intention, based on what Op has said.

Originally posted by Daycare: this is pretty much what I said as well....But what would you do with this child at this age when you are cooking food or prepping and you can't have your eyes on them? Do you leave them in the room all together??

I do have the luxury of typically having one or more adults around. But, even at times when I don't, yes, the children are all together. I stay in the room with the children, but I have an open concept floor plan so I can see them from most anywhere on the first floor, no matter where I am.

EDITED: I reread the OP and see that she did say it is also to protect the little one. My bad....sorry.

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:42 PM
The OP said she wasn't there all the time. This was an option she created to give the big kids some time without having a young one wreck havoc on their projects and such. I can see the benefits to do a zone and to not do the zone but in this case, the OP wasn't asking if she should or should not do one.....she already has one going, it works for her and her group, the only one that doesn't like it is mom. I understand the mom's point of view but just because mom feels that way does not mean that the provider has to change anything. I think the mom would come around to it when she realizes that her child isn't isolated (all alone) but separated on occasion.

Actually, she did ask:

Originally posted by 2ndFamilyDC: What would you all do? continue to use the toddler zone for her
or keep her out amongst the other kids all day? What to tell the mom?

daycare
12-15-2011, 12:45 PM
Actually, the OP said she started using the toddler zone for the bigger kids so the toddler is not dumping/knocking stuff over, etc. She did not say she is using it to protect the toddler, but rather to protect the older children. IMO, that is just avoiding having to deal with teaching appropriate behavior and not having to clean up the mess. I'm sure a few minutes here and there are for safety, but that was not the intention, based on what Op has said.

Originally posted by Daycare: this is pretty much what I said as well....But what would you do with this child at this age when you are cooking food or prepping and you can't have your eyes on them? Do you leave them in the room all together??

I do have the luxury of typically having one or more adults around. But, even at times when I don't, yes, the children are all together. I stay in the room with the children, but I have an open concept floor plan so I can see them from most anywhere on the first floor, no matter where I am.
LUCKY....lol I want another adult around to help out, but I think I would go crazy with another person being in my house all day long.lol

I see what you are saying. I also have a some what open floor plan, but there is one blind spot that I just could not trust....lol All of my kids play so nice together, but I still remove my little one when i need to be in the kitchen, bathroom, or at the door....

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:45 PM
I agree with the fact that the older kids need some space to play without littles knocking down their buildings and such HOWEVER, it is isolating the toddler. She will never learn appropriate social skills or how to interact with others if she isn't given the opportunity to do so.

My space is set up so that 75% of it is for mixed age groups and there is one space the older kids (in groups of 2 or 3 ) can choose to go and play with items/toys that have small pieces. It is my older kids who are allowed to be separated and not the other way around.

I also agree that if mom was told this during enrollment, then she really shouldn't be complaining now, however if it is somehting new, I guess I would be upset too.

The older kids also need experience in how to solve social conflicts as well, one of which is younger children and everything that comes along with them.

Yes! My space is set up so that the older children can find space for privacy and to play quietly alone or with one or two playmates. The infants and toddlers also have spaces they can go to be alone, or have quiet time, but they go to them as they choose....for instance a quiet cozy corner with a sheer curtain, books and a blankie.

CoachingForQualityImprovement
12-15-2011, 12:47 PM
LUCKY....lol I want another adult around to help out, but I think I would go crazy with another person being in my house all day long.lol

I see what you are saying. I also have a some what open floor plan, but there is one blind spot that I just could not trust....lol All of my kids play so nice together, but I still remove my little one when i need to be in the kitchen, bathroom, or at the door....

Haha, my hubby works with me full time....think you could handle having hubby around all day?! :eek: Nah, kidding, we work GREAT together! And, then I have student teachers working here as well, they spend 3 hours per day here doing their practicum/labwork for college. So, I am lucky that I have extra eyes and hands. likethis

And, I really see nothing wrong with putting toddler ina play yard or whatever for a moment or two while tending to necessary tasks, but when they are separated for a large portion of free play time, well, I just see that as a fabulous learning opportunity for the toddler AND the older children that is being missed out on.

mismatchedsocks
12-15-2011, 12:49 PM
I have an open floor plan and the "living room" is set up for non walkers or non sturdy walkers, and the other room is more a preschool. The older ones know that IF they go into the "living room" they must use quiet voices, soft feet and nice words, no touching. This is for safety. I wonder what a "toddler" zone looks like to the OP.

I do have ALL the kids join me in a TOTALLY different room, we call the green room, to do circle time, science, math, and that is where they nap. There is no furniture in there just soft pillows, etc. I say my "seperate" time is about the same as the OP. One hour in morning and about one hour in afternoon. I sit somewhere in middle, helping older kids if they need it, assisting younger kids if they need it.

This is what i think of a toddler zone. Am i way off?!

Meeko
12-15-2011, 01:04 PM
I think it depends how much time the children are apart. One of my big selling points for parents is that I don't separate the kids very much. We are FAMILY group for a reason!

However, I CAN and HAVE separated toddlers from older kids if the need arises (extra messy art activity for example)

The mom may be worried that her child is spending hours alone. The provider needs to discuss with the mom and come to an understanding on when it's OK to have her in the toddler zone.

Blackcat31
12-15-2011, 01:08 PM
One of the biggest concepts in Montessori education is the positives and benefits of mixed age groups.

1. Interaction: The mixed age group environment creates an atmosphere where children learn to help and be helped by other children, because they interact consistently with children whose age and abilities are varied. Children gain an appreciation for their achievement and the accomplishments of others, and are naturally challenged by the achievements of others.

2. Learning from Each Other: Older children learn to be patient and tolerant, and serve as role models and teachers for the younger children. When an older child teaches a younger one, it reinforces previously learned concepts and is actually an aid in complete mastery of concepts. Younger children learn about courtesy, manners, and conflict resolution by watching the older children in the class

I think peer teaching/learning is a wonderful thing that not too many kids get at home any more due to family size being much smaller than in years past.

If you are from a family with a few siblings, stop and think of how much you have learned from them and how much they learned from you while young.

2ndFamilyDC
12-15-2011, 02:54 PM
Let her know that this is what works in your daycare setting and you are working on teaching her appropriate play and social skills so the goal is, eventually, for her to be with the group 100% of the time down the road. The toddler zone is a temporary option to keep her safe and provide age appropriate toys and play space. Do not tell her the specific times the zone is used, just that you use it when you have to have a safe space for her. Make sure to let her know all the positives about the area

This is it exactly. I have been working on her daily so when she is out
with the other kids she understands how it works.

I tried to explain it this to the mom, I showed her the space, which is in the room we are in, she is not isolated, there is a gate between her and the other kids. She can touch them they can touch her, they talk to each other.

I talked to her about safety..........she said "I am not worried about her
getting hurt, she needs to learn how to fend for herself, she is a fighter"
:eek::eek:

Hoping the mom comes around, because having her out today was
not fun for any of us, not even for her.

JenNJ
12-15-2011, 02:59 PM
I know I'll be the odd man out here, as usual, but I agree with Mom. It IS isolating her. It is also not helping her learn how to interact appropriately with the rest of the group. She will never learn if she doesn't have ample opportunity to do so. It doesn't matter if it is now or later that she is allowed to join, she will STILL have to learn appropriate social interactions....I say the sooner, the better.

I would get rid of the toddler zone, and consistently work with her to help her learn how to interact with the older children, and I would also be teaching the older children to be accomodating and helpful to her.

FTR....in 15 years I have never separated the infants/toddlers from the older children. They learn, just as siblings at home, to work and play together and to accomdate one another.

Agree 100%. My kids are thrown into the deep end as soon as they can crawl. I teaches everyone something. Teacher the older kids patience and understanding. Teaches the younger ones respect for others and manners. It can be really great for everyone.

2ndFamilyDC
12-15-2011, 03:00 PM
One of the biggest concepts in Montessori education is the positives and benefits of mixed age groups.

1. Interaction: The mixed age group environment creates an atmosphere where children learn to help and be helped by other children, because they interact consistently with children whose age and abilities are varied. Children gain an appreciation for their achievement and the accomplishments of others, and are naturally challenged by the achievements of others.

2. Learning from Each Other: Older children learn to be patient and tolerant, and serve as role models and teachers for the younger children. When an older child teaches a younger one, it reinforces previously learned concepts and is actually an aid in complete mastery of concepts. Younger children learn about courtesy, manners, and conflict resolution by watching the older children in the class

I think peer teaching/learning is a wonderful thing that not too many kids get at home any more due to family size being much smaller than in years past.

If you are from a family with a few siblings, stop and think of how much you have learned from them and how much they learned from you while young.

For 22 years I have had mixed ages. Always thought it was a great thing.

But in the last few years I have figured out that it does not work well for me.
I see how much the older kids cannot do because of the younger ones, it is not fair to them.

To me it does not work well. Maybe it is because I am not 30 any more. I seemed to do it just fine years ago, but no longer find it to be so easy.

I try to play games with the older kids, the toddler is grabbing all the pieces and screaming because I don't let her. we do puzzles the toddler is grabbing the pieces and running, we get them back and she is screaming.

Who is that fun for??? :(

Blackcat31
12-15-2011, 03:10 PM
For 22 years I have had mixed ages. Always thought it was a great thing.

But in the last few years I have figured out that it does not work well for me.
I see how much the older kids cannot do because of the younger ones, it is not fair to them.

To me it does not work well. Maybe it is because I am not 30 any more. I seemed to do it just fine years ago, but no longer find it to be so easy.

I try to play games with the older kids, the toddler is grabbing all the pieces and screaming because I don't let her. we do puzzles the toddler is grabbing the pieces and running, we get them back and she is screaming.

Who is that fun for??? :(

I hear you....I often find what worked for me when I first opened is not working so well now this many years later. I completely understand where you are coming from. I guess I am just lucky enough that I haven't had such a "busy" toddler in care yet. (knock on wood..LOL!) I can see how it would be frustrating for everyone.

I am also the oldest of 6 kids so I have soft spot for privacy and personal space for the older kids. I guess I more or less do it the same way as you with separate space for the older ones but it is them that get put in a gated area and the toddlers stay out in the main area...does that make sense?

When my older ones want to play Lego's or anything that requires set up, they ask and I put them in a different room and gate it off. So I guess I have a "Zone" too but it is a big kid zone.

I also have 2 toddlers who play pretty nicely and independently of the older kids so I am lucky there too.

I do agree that you do need to do what works for you and since we are running group care, you need to do what is best for the group as a whole. :)

Heidi
12-15-2011, 04:48 PM
I hear you....I often find what worked for me when I first opened is not working so well now this many years later. I completely understand where you are coming from. I guess I am just lucky enough that I haven't had such a "busy" toddler in care yet. (knock on wood..LOL!) I can see how it would be frustrating for everyone.

I am also the oldest of 6 kids so I have soft spot for privacy and personal space for the older kids. I guess I more or less do it the same way as you with separate space for the older ones but it is them that get put in a gated area and the toddlers stay out in the main area...does that make sense?

When my older ones want to play Lego's or anything that requires set up, they ask and I put them in a different room and gate it off. So I guess I have a "Zone" too but it is a big kid zone.

I also have 2 toddlers who play pretty nicely and independently of the older kids so I am lucky there too.

I do agree that you do need to do what works for you and since we are running group care, you need to do what is best for the group as a whole. :)

I love love love Montessori, but the program is most of used for 2.5-5 year olds, who are at a completely different developmental level than the toddlers.
I know there are infant and toddler Montesori programs, but they are seperate from the preschool group, and the set up is quite different.

I agree that you have to do what works for you and your children. Having 7 f4 yo's and a 1 year old is different than having 3 1 yo's and a couple older ones.

2ndFamilyDC
12-15-2011, 04:50 PM
I am also the oldest of 6 kids so I have soft spot for privacy and personal space for the older kids. I guess I more or less do it the same way as you with separate space for the older ones but it is them that get put in a gated area and the toddlers stay out in the main area...does that make sense?

When my older ones want to play Lego's or anything that requires set up, they ask and I put them in a different room and gate it off. So I guess I have a "Zone" too but it is a big kid zone.

I also have 2 toddlers who play pretty nicely and independently of the older kids so I am lucky there too.

I do agree that you do need to do what works for you and since we are running group care, you need to do what is best for the group as a whole. :)



You know the more I think about it the more I believe the biggest problem for me is that I have 4 boys that are so WILD. All they want to do is run, wrestle and shoot. Even to get them to calm down enough to do any "school" type activity is difficult. I have had nothing but boys in my daycare for about 10 years now, just a girl here and there. I think I am burnt out on boys. :lol:

I have put the older kids in the "zone" to play away from the toddler. That lasts about 10 minutes tops and they want out. Only to want in again in about 20 minutes. I also will let the boys go in my dinning area to play with little legos, I can see them, but the toddler can't.

I do not have her in the gated area for more than 2.25 hours in a day out of her 6 waking hours here. So she is out more than she is in. She can see everyone and talk to them and they can talk to her. It isn't like she is in a separate room. What is the difference with this then a lot of us in being in a playpen as toddlers? Nothing, that is what.

SilverSabre25
12-15-2011, 05:19 PM
One of the biggest concepts in Montessori education is the positives and benefits of mixed age groups.

1. Interaction: The mixed age group environment creates an atmosphere where children learn to help and be helped by other children, because they interact consistently with children whose age and abilities are varied. Children gain an appreciation for their achievement and the accomplishments of others, and are naturally challenged by the achievements of others.

2. Learning from Each Other: Older children learn to be patient and tolerant, and serve as role models and teachers for the younger children. When an older child teaches a younger one, it reinforces previously learned concepts and is actually an aid in complete mastery of concepts. Younger children learn about courtesy, manners, and conflict resolution by watching the older children in the class

I think peer teaching/learning is a wonderful thing that not too many kids get at home any more due to family size being much smaller than in years past.

If you are from a family with a few siblings, stop and think of how much you have learned from them and how much they learned from you while young.

This is true, however, remember that Montessori splits ages into 0-3 and 3-6. I'm not sure of the higher splits. There is definitely some age split though.

Personally, I can't seem to mix kids until they are about 18 months to 2--much closer to the age where they can begin to understand that other people have different thoughts, feels, and wants than they do. Depends somewhat on the age of the older kids and the exact composition of the group.

emmajo
12-15-2011, 07:01 PM
It has always seemed to me that as soon as a baby can walk well and make some sort of verbal babbling response to an older child's "pretend you say ..." the younger becomes a playmate. A dumping, grabbing one, but a friend nonetheless, and the older ones seem pleased to include their new friend. Some of the time anyway. Then when they need to do "big kid" things, the littles go in high chair for a snack or water play, or bigger ones go to the kitchen table for their activities. My house is small, but I'm thinking of gating older kids into a hallway next to play area so they can play w/ smaller-pieced games there while littlest are kept from bothering them. I once worked in a center and I like the multi-age mixture so much more than having all the kids the same age. i think kids exposed to older ones on a daily basis learn everything so much more quickly!

Sugar Magnolia
12-15-2011, 09:39 PM
I have a 15 mth old girl in my dc.
When she turned one I put her in a "toddler zone".
I did it to keep the older kids happy. So she couldn't
constantly grab their toys, dump the buckets of toys
and to keep her safe from the wild boys running and knocking
her over.
I felt that for the older kids sake it was best if she had
her own space.
I would put her in their for about 90 minutes in the morning
and about 45 min. in the afternoon. She was fine in there.

Well the dcm does not like her in there. She feels that
her dd being isolated is so sad.

I kept her out this morning to see how things would go
and it was a nightmare. The older kids were all frustrated
and she was a terror. Obviously she has been with the other
kids, but just not for so long, in my opinion it did not go well.

What would you all do? continue to use the toddler zone for her
or keep her out amongst the other kids all day? What to tell the mom?

How old are the other kids? I have a small multi-age center, they spend 75% of their day as a group, but the Littles and the Bigs are separated twice a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. But each group has its own adult, so both groups have direct supervision and adult interaction. If your "zone" is totally visible, well stocked with interesting age appropriate stuff, the girl can see and touch the other kids around her, its ok in my opinion. If you and the other kids are verbally and visually including her, its ok. Maybe you have an older child that can go in the zone with her on occasion? We allow our ages groups to totally intermingle, even during their "separate" times. If Big Girl X is not interested in what her age peers are doing, she'll come to the room or area where the Littles are and hang out for awhile. Likewise, if Little Boy X is particularly into legos, he can go hang with the Bigs if they are doing Legos. But I digress.... Sounds to me this little girl in her zone is pretty much appropriate because she's easily supervisable, engaged and still spends a substantial portion of the day with the other kids, you're doing the right thing. For you, and for the girl. Maybe send mom some pics of her chillin' in the zone, happy, playing toys. Unposed, natural pics. And also send pics of her with the group too, participating. If she's really unhappy about it, maybe she can come observe. Communication is key, you should talk, tell her how you feel, agree on a plan. Also, remind her she is aging quickly and can be constructively included VERY soon, within 6 months. Hope that helps.

Sugar Magnolia
12-15-2011, 09:51 PM
It has always seemed to me that as soon as a baby can walk well and make some sort of verbal babbling response to an older child's "pretend you say ..." the younger becomes a playmate. A dumping, grabbing one, but a friend nonetheless, and the older ones seem pleased to include their new friend. Some of the time anyway. Then when they need to do "big kid" things, the littles go in high chair for a snack or water play, or bigger ones go to the kitchen table for their activities. My house is small, but I'm thinking of gating older kids into a hallway next to play area so they can play w/ smaller-pieced games there while littlest are kept from bothering them. I once worked in a center and I like the multi-age mixture so much more than having all the kids the same age. i think kids exposed to older ones on a daily basis learn everything so much more quickly!

Wow! I didn't read the other replies before I posted, but I just scrolled up and saw yours! Yes! You just described my center. :-). I think the OP is basically including her, just giving her some separate time and space so the older kids can do stuff on their developmental level too. The morning 90 mins is a little long though maybe. 45 tops I'd say. As long as the girl is happy :) in her zone.

mac60
12-16-2011, 04:23 AM
You need to do what you have to in order for each and every child to be safe. Not everyone has a "whole house daycare setup" to have separate spaces. There is nothing wrong with gating off a safe zone for a little one to play/crawl around safe from being stepped on by the older kids. Even if a little one is gated off, it does not mean they are separated.

countrymom
12-16-2011, 06:10 AM
I know I'll be the odd man out here, as usual, but I agree with Mom. It IS isolating her. It is also not helping her learn how to interact appropriately with the rest of the group. She will never learn if she doesn't have ample opportunity to do so. It doesn't matter if it is now or later that she is allowed to join, she will STILL have to learn appropriate social interactions....I say the sooner, the better.

I would get rid of the toddler zone, and consistently work with her to help her learn how to interact with the older children, and I would also be teaching the older children to be accomodating and helpful to her.

FTR....in 15 years I have never separated the infants/toddlers from the older children. They learn, just as siblings at home, to work and play together and to accomdate one another.


I agree. I don't have seperate areas and the children learn to play together. Sure at first I spend time seperating them but it usually lasts for about a week or two. The older kids need to learn to play with younger children, they are the ones that need to learn to share too.

Blackcat31
12-16-2011, 06:20 AM
You know the more I think about it the more I believe the biggest problem for me is that I have 4 boys that are so WILD. All they want to do is run, wrestle and shoot. Even to get them to calm down enough to do any "school" type activity is difficult. I have had nothing but boys in my daycare for about 10 years now, just a girl here and there. I think I am burnt out on boys. :lol:

I have put the older kids in the "zone" to play away from the toddler. That lasts about 10 minutes tops and they want out. Only to want in again in about 20 minutes. I also will let the boys go in my dinning area to play with little legos, I can see them, but the toddler can't.

If the boys were truly bothered by the toddler, I would think they would WANT to stay in the gated area away form her then. Maybe set a rule such as 'you go over the gate and choose to come out you cannot re-enter'. Makes them think carefully about the choices they make.

I do not have her in the gated area for more than 2.25 hours in a day out of her 6 waking hours here. So she is out more than she is in. She can see everyone and talk to them and they can talk to her. It isn't like she is in a separate room. What is the difference with this then a lot of us in being in a playpen as toddlers? Nothing, that is what.

That is the point I think everyone was missing. (maybe mom as well ? )

This is true, however, remember that Montessori splits ages into 0-3 and 3-6. I'm not sure of the higher splits. There is definitely some age split though.

Yes, the age split is correct, however, the training I am looking at teaches how to integrate the 0-6 age group successfully in small groups. Most Montessori schools are split as you stated but there are 15-20 kids in each classroom which IMPO, would make mixing ages more difficult.

Personally, I can't seem to mix kids until they are about 18 months to 2--much closer to the age where they can begin to understand that other people have different thoughts, feels, and wants than they do. Depends somewhat on the age of the older kids and the exact composition of the group.


I think for me the biggest reason I am able to mix age groups so succcessfully is that I only take really young ones if they are siblings of kids I have already and have grown up here. They know my rules and expectations AND they are completely used to the little one at home so for them it is "normal" to have the toddler around. The kids i have who aren't related all take cues from the rest of the group so it works well.

I have yet to come across a toddler I am unable to allow to roam freely (knock on wood! LOL!!)

sharlan
12-16-2011, 11:06 AM
I never had the room to seperate the kids. The older ones learned quickly to watch out for the littles. Even here, I never seperted them. They quickly learn to co-exist. Little Legos and such were played with at the table to prevent the littles from getting to them.

SilverSabre25
12-16-2011, 11:57 AM
Wow it must have something to do with my group...or I suck...because back in the spring I desperately needed to separate the littles from the bigs, and there wasn't a huge age gap or anything, just a development gap. The oldest at the time was just over 3, with a 2.5, 1.75, 1.5, 12-15 months, and then a couple 1's who came and left in quick succession (couple months each)

Well actually...let me think...maybe it was mostly those youngest children that prevented the group from working well together. My three dcks and my DD play together like a dream now and as soon as my DS is walking I don't see why he wouldn't join them. Same with the baby sib I get in Jan who's about six weeks younger than DS.

Now granted I first separated last winter when my life went all to crap with one big disaster after another and being sic and tired form being pregnant and stressed on top of that.

Maybe I need to re-evaluate my opinon on the separation thing, now that I think about it. :p

I still can't see any way of NOT separating my babies and crawlers, though...not with the "spirited" group I have.

Cat Herder
12-16-2011, 12:28 PM
I separate the littles from the bigs for free play 2-3 times a day, as needed..in the same room :Sunny: It prevents injuries and spawns creative, independent, play.

Sometimes I even separate the bigs when they are accidentally stepping on each others buildings/castles/forests. :lol: They ask me to.

IMHO, The bigs should not be forced to care for/supervise the littles...that is my job. It was expected of me alot as a child :rolleyes:. I resented it. It made me dislike the younger kids. Never getting to have my own play space and always having someones else's feelings treated as more important than mine was infuriating. I hated going to daycare for that reason :(. I want each of my DCK's to feel important, validated and at home.

Agree, disagree...my view is my own and my clients like it. :p Maybe they are all just the oldest sibling in their family, maybe they experienced it as well...who knows. :ouch: They get it. The kids are here 9.5 hours a day...that is just too long to be touched non-stop by others everyday.

The rest of the day I am right there, 100% attentive, so they can hang out and play as a group. I am able to intervene instantly, not from across the room/house. THAT is when they learn to enjoy each other; when I am there to model and guide behavior.

When I can't be at their 100% disposal (preparing lunch, prepping art/curriculum, changing diapers, putting out mats, mopping spills, taking one to the potty, etc.) they go to their age appropriate play area (in the same room) until I am back.

Isolation and Separation are not really the same concept. There is never a time when these kids cannot see, hear or communicate with one another.

frgsonmysox
12-16-2011, 03:21 PM
I think it would bother me that she appears to be the only child in the toddler zone, so while she may hear and see the other kids she isn't really playing with them. If there were more toddlers I think it would be less of an issue.