It is common practice for many centre–based services to group children of mixed ages together at the beginning and end of each day. It provides services with flexibility during quieter periods, and creates opportunities for younger and older children to interact. Some services also offer ‘family grouping’ of children.
If your service operates mixed age groups of children at times, you still need to meet the minimum number of educators required under the ratios. When educating and caring for children of mixed age groups, consideration needs to be given to children’s health, safety and wellbeing. At all times adequate supervision must be considered and maintained.
To calculate the educator-to-child ratio for a mixed age group of children in centre-based care, ensure that the ratio is met for the youngest children in the group first (see the example outlined in table 1).
Table 1: Educator to child ratio calculation example
Please note the below calculations are based on the national ratios and may vary across jurisdictions due to transitional and savings provisions.
Figure 1: Mixed age group ratios in practice
In this example, the educator required for the three children aged birth to 24 months could also be responsible for one of the children from the 25-35 months age range, and still meet the 1:4 ratio.
A second educator is required for the remaining four children aged 25-35 months. As the ratio for this age range is 1:5, one of the children from the 36 months and over age range can also be included in this educator’s allocation. A third educator is required to meet the 1:11 ratio for the remaining 11 children aged 36 months to preschool.
This example shows how ratios can be calculated based on the ages of children while maintaining the ratio requirements for each age range.
This month we look at the records services need to keep around staffing and operations, such as a service’s Quality Improvement Plan, details of staff working at the service and the staff member in day-to-day charge.
For a list of required records, download one of our handy guides:
ACECQA is coming to Queensland to host the final round of 2014-15 national workshops on Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice.
We’ll be making our way around the Sunshine State from 27 July to 18 August, visiting Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Maryborough, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Mount Isa.
Led by ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, the workshops are practical, hands-on sessions supported by the Workforce Council and local regulatory authority staff.
The workshops provide a great opportunity for education and care professionals to network and form collaborative relationships within their community.
Places are still available for regional NSW sessions in Lismore, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga. To secure your place, register at our Events page