Mixed-Age Care by Amanda Quesnell

Amanda writes: One way that LifeWays is unique is because it has mixed-age groups of children. Many times people have asked me if it is harder to have a variety of different ages in my care, but I always tell them it’s actually easier. Having a mixed-age group allows the children to be in the same suite, with the same children and with the same caregivers, from the time they start to when they go off to “big kid school.”  This allows the children to form strong relationships with both the other children and their caregivers.

The older children love to be the “big sister” or the “big brother” in the suite by helping out the younger children. For example, Alika loves to help out with the babies. She is always updating me on what the babies are doing: “Miss Amanda, Henri found his thumb” or “Miss Amanda, Simon is making smiles at me.”  Augie loves to help his friends find their slippers and shoes. Eli always makes sure that Simon has a bib and a fork. 

The little children grow up surrounded by the older kids who are always helping them out when they can. As the younger ones become the bigger ones they are just as eager to help out with the new little ones that enter their suite. You can tell how much these children enjoy one another: Ivy only comes in for half days now, and every morning the children from her suite are asking, “When will Ivy get here?” The children always give her a nice big greeting when she arrives.

LifeWays families are unique in the way that they and their children get to form strong relationships with the other children, other families, and their caregivers.

Amanda Quesnell has been a caregiver at LifeWays Early Childhood Center in Milwaukee since 2011.