Mixed Age Groupings
Some licenses may have an alternate capacity in which children can move to the next age group before they reach the designated age. The mixed age grouping alternative capacity only allows a small percentage of children to move up to the next age group. For example, a preschool group of eight may consist of 20% of children still considered in the toddler age range under 2.5 years but over the age of 2 years. Another example might be in a toddler age group that has 20% mixed age grouping with infants under 18 months but over 16 months. These mixed age groupings are helpful when a child is ready to move to the next age group and has the opportunity to visit for short periods to allow for a smoother transition when they move to the next program. The license must state the specifics of these mixed age groupings prior to early years settings engaging in this practice.
Family Age Groupings
Family age groupings may take place in areas with smaller populations such as rural and remote locations. Family age groupings support children in learning more about one another through mixed ages learning alongside one another. Family age groupings must not exceed a group size of 15 children. Read the following regulation for more information regarding family age grouping ratios and staff qualifications.
Licensed Family Age Groups
8.1 (1) A licensee may be licensed to provide child care for a licensed family age group that meets the following age requirements:
1. The group shall not include more than 15 children.
2. The group shall not include more than six children who are younger than 24 months. O. Reg. 126/16, s. 10.
(2) Every licensee that provides child care for a licensed family age group shall ensure that the requirements determined as follows respecting the number and qualifications of employees who provide child care to the licensed family age group are satisfied, whether children are on the premises or during activities off the premises:
1. Classify each child according to his or her age category, as set out in Schedule-4.
2. Determine the total number of children in each age category.
3. For each age category, multiply the number of children in the age category by the ratio set out in Column 2 of Schedule 4 opposite the age category, expressed as a decimal.
4. Find the total of the numbers determined under paragraph 3 for all age categories.
5. Round the number determined under paragraph 4 up to the nearest whole number.
6. The number determined under paragraph 5 is the minimum number of employees required to provide child care to the group, unless one of the following applies:
i. If there are more than six children, there must be at least two employees providing child care to the group.
ii. If there are more than 10 children and one or more children are younger than 12 months, there must be at least three employees providing child care to the group.
iii. If there are six or fewer children, and no more than three children are younger than 24 months, only one employee is required to provide child care to the group.
7. The number of employees determined under paragraph 6 that must be qualified employees is,
i. if fewer than three employees are required under paragraph 6, then at least one employee must be a qualified employee, and
ii. if three or more employees are required under paragraph 6, then at least two of the employees must be qualified employees. O. Reg. 126/16, s. 10; O. Reg. 254/19, s. 3.
(3) If a licensed family age group includes children who are 44 months or older and, but for such children, the number of employees determined under paragraph 6 of subsection (2) would be lower, then the greater number of employees is required only when such children are present. O. Reg. 126/16, s. 10.
(Ontario Regulation 137/15, under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. © King’s Printer for Ontario, 2015)
Licensed home child care settings provide mixed age grouping opportunities on a smaller scale in a child care provider’s home. Licensed home child care providers can provide care for six or less children in their approved home settings as long as no more than 3 children are under the age of 3 (OME, 2014). Licensed home child care is linked to a licensed agency that oversees the site and provides valuable resources and support for the home child care provider.