"Raise your sail one
foot and you get ten feet of wind." Chinese proverb
ENHANCING CONTINUITY OF CARE
Many experts suggest that changing primary attachment figures during the infant/toddler
years may lead to less advanced developmental progress and to child distress.
Therefore, it is commonly recommended that child care programs keep the same caregiver
with children until they are at least three. The Frank Porter Graham Child Development
Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is currently undertaking
a six year study on the impact of multiple caregivers in the early years. This
research will shed new light on our assumptions about continuity of care. While
this research is going on, FPG researcher Debbie Cryer provides these suggestions
on offering continuity of care:
* Avoid taking new children only in the youngest group; this forces moving children
up one at a time and separates them from the teacher to whom they are attached.
* Recruit new children to fill in at upper age levels when it is appropriate to
have more children per adult.
* Use mixed-age groupings.
* Reward staff for longevity with the program.
* If a staff member leaves, overlap staff so that children are never left with
These insights came
from the Early Developments newsletter (Winter 2002) of the Frank
Porter Graham Child Development Center. For more information about this publication
and the Center, go to www.fpg.unc.edu.