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What does the research say about multi-age grouping for infants, toddlers and preschoolers?

Childcare Resource and Research Unit
February 12, 2014

This BRIEFing NOTE is about multi-age grouping (also called mixed-age or family groupings) in early childhood programs. It is written to inform the dialogue about a proposal by the Ontario government to introduce regulations for multi-age grouping models in the province. It provides details and context for the proposals, briefly reviews pertinent research literature on multi-age grouping and examines how multi-age settings are regulated in other jurisdictions. The importance of ratios, group sizes and ECE training in multi-age grouping is explored.

Ratios for four and five year olds: What does the research say? What else is important?

Martha Friendly, Carolyn Ferns and Nina Prabhu
June 2009

Research and expert perspectives agree that one of the key elements that determines the quality of an early childhood education and care program is the number of adults to children - the ratio. However, it is also clear that the adult: child ratio is not the sole quality-determining element. Other important elements, especially training and qualifications, interact with ratio to form the structural and pedagogical base for quality in an ECEC program.

Elements of a high quality early learning and child care system.

Martha Friendly and Jane Beach

This paper describes eight linked elements that, taken into account together, will form a basis for the creation of a system of ELCC where high quality is the norm rather than the exception.

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