When do children get moved from one group to the next?
This is a very common question that we get from parents. The reason why it is commonly asked of us is because at DLC we do not simply move children from group to group when they have a birthday. Because when you really think about it, a birthday is just like any other day, nothing significant really changes in a person.
What we look for is developmental readiness. We don’t want to hold a child back, nor do we want to ask too much of them because they are a certain age. Some of these developmental readiness indicators include:
1. Overall maturity (turn taking, sharing, being responsible for personal items, impulse control, following through with directions, etc).
2. Attention span. Does the child want to be at circle time for extended periods of time (5-20 minutes)? Do they participate in group conversations? Do they spend longer periods of time at one activity (5-10 minutes)?
3. Advanced language skills. Is the child able to use his/her words (more than 5-10 words in a sentence) to communicate with their peers and teachers?
4. Advanced problem solving/reasoning skills. Does the child attempt to solve problems using language in a cooperative/prosocial manner? When faced with a challenging task or question do they explore various methods of solving the problem on their own? Do they make connections with events or objects that may otherwise seem unrelated? Do they notice patterns? Can they hypothesize and predict?
5. Overall interest in more complicated projects/activities. Does the child love working on activities that require multiple steps, or a long attention span? Are they eager to draw, write, cut, count, and other activities that require greater fine motor control? Are they interested in teacher/adult directed activities such as; bingo, M&M Math, cooking projects, and other activities that require a specific set of instructions.
As we watch your child grow, it will become apparent to us when they are ready for new challenges that a different small group can provide for them. Timing is of the essence when making group changes. Moving a child to the next group prematurely can cause anxiety, frustration, and a sense of failure. We want them to always feel accomplished, secure, and confident! A child who starts the school year in the same group as the previous year may only need a couple more months to grow and mature.
Listed below is the criteria we use for each different small group. Our staff does not use standardized tests to evaluate each child’s progress. We believe that a teacher’s intuition and observations are the most accurate & powerful developmental assessment tool available. Through our hands-on assessments of social interactions, art work & projects, we are able to evaluate overall development!
Squirrel Group (Approx. 2-3 years)
Honeybees & Dragonflies Group (Approx. 3-5 years)
Butterfly Group (Pre-k/4-6 years.)