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Enhancing Continuity of Care
June 25, 2002

"Raise your sail one foot and you get ten feet of wind." —Chinese proverb


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 strangers.

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.


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