Nurseries told: ‘stop separating young children by age’

The Telegraph is reporting that a leading charity has said nurseries should be banned from placing the youngest children in “baby rooms” because the system damages infants’ long term development…

The current structure employed by many nurseries – in which children are separated according to their age – is too traumatic for toddlers to handle, it was claimed.

Experts warned that significant harm was caused when children were “moved up” into the older class, breaking the vital bonds they have formed with a specially-assigned member of staff in the baby room.

What About the Children?, a charity that campaigns for the rights of under-threes, said the split was as traumatic for young children as being separated from their mother for the first time.

This can often cause long-term psychological problems, it was claimed.

It called for all nurseries to use a system of “continuity care” in which particular members of staff follow the same children throughout their entire time at nursery – instead of just looking after those of a certain age.

The conclusions – to be made in a policy paper to be presented at the charity’s early years conference in London on Tuesday – will revive the debate over the best way to raise children amid a surge in the number of under-fives enrolled in formal childcare in the past 20 years…

Currently, many nurseries separate children by age. The very youngest – those aged one or under – are normally placed in a “baby room” where staff can meet their needs away from often rowdy infants.

In most cases, children will be assigned to a “key worker” who will be expected to form bonds while at nursery, easing the transition from being away from their parents for the first time.

But What About the Children? (WATCh) said too many staff were only assigned to a certain age group, meaning children were left traumatised after being suddenly split from their key worker when they turn one. The process is amplified by the fact that children in some nurseries change rooms at each birthday or developmental milestone, it was claimed…

More at: Nurseries told: ‘stop separating young children by age’


What do you think about these ideas from What About the Children? Do you see merit in them? Would such an approach create many practical difficulties? Please share your insights and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. signoramac

    SchoolsImprove Good idea #CMs do not separate children and same #keyperson is there for years #continuityofcare #attachments

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