Quality Care from Quality Time
There have been tremendous strides made in the past three years to expand and improve the USAG Ansbach Community. One new addition to the post has been the new Child Development Center built on the Katterbach Kaserne. This new building has fixed many problems that the older center had, larger rooms, more safety features, and more storage for teachers, just to name a few. However, with all the benefits this facility has, it still has one big problem, the large age gaps within the classrooms. Children under the age of five seem so close in age, yet vary significantly in their intellectual, cognitive, and physical development. Placing them in rooms together when their developmental level is so far apart can leave many children lost in the shuffle, often getting left behind or not being intellectually stimulated the way they need to be at such a critical period in their development.
There are primarily three developmental class levels within the center. Each developmental level has two to three classrooms. The first level is the infant room where children range from six weeks old to 18 months old. At this age children learn best through play and most interact well together. While in this stage they eat and sleep on request and each infant is kept to their own schedule that best suits the parents and child, where in the rooms that precede this all the children are primarily on the classroom schedule. Once the infant turns 18 months old they move onto the next level of class which is the toddler room. The toddler classrooms accommodate toddlers from 18 months to three years old. In the toddler classroom is where we start to see children struggling. Many kids in the class are already stating their colors, days of the week, and various other materials and it can be a bit much for the new toddlers entering this environment to handle. There is a certain level of independence that comes into play once they transition into this room and many children have a tough time adjusting at first. However, most catch on quickly once they see how the other children participate. Since they are still relatively close in age they are more eager to model this behavior. Once the children turn three is when they move on to the next developmental level, the preschool room. This is where I can see the most complications in the age gaps.
Once in the preschool room the goal is to start equipping children with the skills they need to succeed in Kindergarten. A great deal of variability exists in developmental and skill levels within young children (Taleb). Taleb emphasizes this in his handout I researched about Kindergarten readiness. This variability becomes most apparent in the preschool room. Although the age only varies three years the stage in which each child is preparing to enter is crucial. The five to six year olds in the room are transitioning out of a nap time and preparing for kindergarten, they are more confident in their skills and...