At KTB Kids we actively encourage regular contact of children across the age ranges. In doing this a nurturing environment is established whereby relationships similar to a family set up are created. Children learn to play and communicate appropriately like brothers and sisters. Positive outcomes are seen as a result of the dynamics of the relationship between the children within our mixed age grouping setting; for example children are less competitive, more helpful and they look after one another. Research shows one of the greatest ways children learn is from each other rather than adults, this is true in practice with the children benefitting from positive role modelling and social interactions for example sharing and turn-taking. Language development particularly occurs very well and new children settle more easily as they feel secure when supported by the older children in the routines of the day. It is also beneficial for less out-going children as they can relax and interact more comfortably with younger children at times throughout the day.
The nursery practitioners at KTB Kids however do recognise that exclusive baby and toddler playtimes are also important. Our youngest children need to indulge in physical play and have very simple craft activities geared to their abilities. The eldest children need protected time to prepare for their reception year at school and to play undisturbed by the younger children. In our nursery all children attending KTB Kids can enjoy the resources within the developmental zone, but in addition there are dedicated areas for the pre-schoolers and babies. Practitioners are designated an age group of children to specialise in and key children will be assigned from this age group. Transitions are much less stressful within our setting as children are exposed to the whole team, the other children and the different areas of the nursery from the beginning, meaning that progression through the setting can be led by the child, and tailored as required. Alongside our continuous booking system that does not define set start and end days to the year; the entire process is more relaxed for everyone.