2. Reviewing and Understanding the Ground Rules

Lesson 2 — Reviewing and Understanding the Ground Rules

The four ground rules are as follows:

Ground Rule 1: Total installation CDC spaces must include full-day spaces for infants 6 weeks-12 months:

Total installation CDC spaces must include full-day spaces for infants 6 weeks-12 months. Although there may be a part-day preschool or hourly CDC that does not have full-day infant spaces, every CDC that serves full-day children should have infants in it.

The Army knows that caring for infants is more expensive and labor intensive than for older children. That’s why, when funding by child space, there are many more dollars attached to an infant space than any other.

Ground Rule 2: Ages of children in modules/rooms should span at least 18 months.
Ground Rule 3: The prescribed ratios in AR 608-10 are Army policy.

Ages of children in modules/rooms should span at least 18 months.

The following table contains some do’s and don’ts of multi-age grouping.

Can Do:
6 weeks-18 months or 12-30 months or 18 months-3 years or Older Toddler-Younger Preschool or 3-4 years There is no such thing as a “Pre-toddler Module”
or “3-Year Old Module” etc. Each room in a module may be multi-age.
Can’t Do: You cannot have all 8 infants on one side and all 10 pre-toddlers on the other side of a module.

Ground Rule 4: With very limited exceptions, all spaces intended for child use within a CDC must be used for that purpose.

With very limited exceptions, all spaces intended for child use within a CDC must be used for that purpose.

If part of the module is somehow blocked off (such as the motor/music room), it must be unblocked.
Specifically, in the case of motor/music rooms, the space must be used routinely throughout the day and for more than just nap time or on rainy days.
If a module has been turned into an office space or training room, it must be returned to a module.
If you still have school-age children in your CDC, find another place for them!
If rooms have been closed due to lack of staff, these spaces are still included on the Adjusted Design Capacity Worksheet. If you never mention that empty module at all, no one is going to realize how important it is for you to get staff for it!
If the room was closed because the “heating doesn’t work” or “the window is broken” or the “fire alarm doesn’t work,” fix it.
Exceptions: In situations where you will never need the space again (at least not in your lifetime) and when approved by your Region in writing, you may decrease child space if:

Your installation is closing.
Your installation downsized.
You have documented evidence that no one in your community needs your services, otherwise known as your Region Validated Installation Child, Youth and School Operations Plan (ICOP).
You do not need the space for younger children and that’s why the School-Agers are still there.
The repair costs to make a room usable again are too high (e.g., the new Air Conditioning will cost more than the original building).
There are other contingencies not previously thought of, with agreement from your Region.

Implications of Implementing the Ground Rules

“I’ve discovered that we’re not following some of these ground rules! In fact, parents (and some staff) are always complaining about putting younger and older children together. I feel like I’m navigating through an asteroid belt!”

1. “The younger infants/children will be hurt by the older infants/children.” It is better for children to be with one primary caregiver for as long as possible. Changing rooms and adults every 6 months to a year is disruptive to children’s lives. Many studies show mixing ages of children is beneficial to all concerned. Review Blueprints for Care and The Case for Mixed Age Grouping, both of which were previously distributed to the installation and are also in the Library

2. “Parents don’t want their young children mixed with the older ones or their older children mixed with the younger ones!” When these types of problems occur, it is generally because the Program Assistants have not been adequately trained to work with mixed-age groupings of children. That’s why we have Training and Curriculum Specialists (TACS) – to train the staff in these areas.

3. “Aren’t we violating the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) maximum group size by putting 5 pre-toddlers with 4 infants in each room?”The ratios and group sizes recommended by NAEYC are not absolute or required criteria. You only have to meet 80% of the criteria in a standard to become accredited. Missing one criterion will not cause you to drop below the 80% mark. As long as you are providing high quality care in other areas, not meeting NAEYC ratios and group sizes will NOT cause you to be deferred. Therefore, the Army will NOT be lowering ratios or group sizes to meet NAEYC recommendations.

 

4. “What’s wrong with separate age groupings or having within the module one separate room for infants and one for pre-toddlers?”

Consider the following two scenarios. The first scenario is an example of what occurred before implementation of the ground rules, and the second scenario is an example of what occurs now.
Scenario 1: Billy is at Fort A where “modules” mean younger children in one room and older children in another room.
CHANGE
AGE IN MODULE
PRIMARY CAREGIVER
Infants Side A – Tiny Ones
6 wks-6 months
Miss Sue
Infants Side B – Older Ones
7-12 months
Miss Jean
Pretoddler Room A
13-18 months
Mr. Bob
Pretoddler Room B
19-24 months
Ms Jane
Toddler – Younger Side A
25-30 months
Mr. John
Toddler – Older Side B
31-36 months
Miss Bev
3 year old room
37-48 months
Miss Josie
4 year old room
49-60 months
Mr. Tom
5 year old room
60 months until Kindergarten
Miss Bobbie

As you can see, Billy has changed modules and caregivers 9 times in 5 years. It could be even more if any caregivers quit in any of those rooms or if Billy’s family has a permanent change of station (PCS), which would have disrupted his life even more.

Consider the following two scenarios. The first scenario is an example of what occurred before implementation of the ground rules, and the second scenario is an example of what occurs now.
Scenario 2: Cindy is at Fort B where “modules” mean older and younger children together. Cindy gets to stay in the same room with the same primary caregiver for 18 months.
CHANGE
AGE IN MODULE
PRIMARY CAREGIVER
Infants/ PT Side A –
6 wks-18 months
Miss Sue
PT/ Toddler
19 months-3 years
Mr. John
Preschool
3 years until Kindergarten
Miss Bobbie
When military families move 9 times in 5 years, we feel sorry for them. When children in one CDC move 8 times in 5 years, it’s accepted as “normal.” How would you like to have 9 different bosses and 9 different offices in 5 years? Is this the best we can do? Implementation of the ground rules helps to promote stronger attachments and bonding for the children

5. “Mult-age grouping can’t be successful.” In true Army fashion, they attempted what they thought was the “unachievable.” We are happy to report that multi-age grouping, while still not perfect, has been a success story in most locations! Parents report that they can now see the benefits of having their child with the same adult for a longer period of time, staff are learning how to manage the environment for a larger age range of children, and multi-age grouping has not had a negative impact at all on the NAEYC accreditation rate.

Recording Areas in a CDC Impacted by the Ground Rules

“I’m glad I now have some answers to give to my parents. But, based on Worksheets 1-A, we still have some areas of concern in our center where we are not meeting some of the ground rules. I will need to document this.”
That’s correct, Pamela. Jot down the areas in the CDC you need to examine when determining your Adjusted Design Capacity, then discuss possible adjustments with your team.
Modules/rooms that do not meet the ground rule criteria will need to be re-configured, even if they meet the Space Census requirements.
As you review these areas in your CDC, ask yourself: “Which modules/rooms will I need to look at more closely in light of the ground rules?”

Practical Exercise

Using the ground rules, data from Worksheets 1-A, and the CDC floor plan, fill in the chart below. When you’re finished, select the Submit button and compare your answers.

 

 

Module/ Room # Meets Criteria (Yes/No) Possible Explanation Ground Rule #
1


2


3


4


5


6a


6b


6c


 

Floor Plan:

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

Worksheets 1-A
Census Calculations: CDC Worksheet 1-A for Full-Day Calculation of Actual Capacity in Full-Day Modules

Module Number Name of Module # of Rooms in Module # of Ratio Clusters in each Room Ages of Children in each Cluster # of Spaces in each Ratio Cluster # of Spaces per Room (Group) Actual Capacity of Module (2 Groups)
(A) (B) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G)
1 Module #1: Toddler
24-36 mo.
Room 1 A Toddler 7 14 21
B Toddler 7
Room 2 C Toddler 7 7
D
2 Module #2: Preschool 3 & 4 years Room 1 A Preschooler 10 20 40
B Preschooler 10
Room 2 C Preschooler 10 20
D Preschooler 10
3 Module #3: Pretoddlers 13-24 mo. Room 1 A Pretoddler 5 10 20
B Pretoddler 5
Room 2 C Pretoddler 5 10
D Pretoddler 5
4 Module #4: Infants 6 wk. – 12 mo. Room 1 A Infant 4 8 16
B Infant 4
Room 2 C Infant 4 8
D Infant 4
Census Calculations: CDC Worksheet 1-A for Part-Day Calculation of Actual Capacity in Part-Day Modules

Module Number Name of Module # of Rooms in Module # of Ratio Clusters in each Room Ages of Children in each Cluster # of Spaces in each Ratio Cluster # of Spaces per Room (Group) Actual Capacity of Module (2 Groups)
(A) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G) (H)
1 Module #5: Kindergarten Room 1 A 12 36
B 5/6 12
Room 2 C 5/6 12 24
D 5/6 12
Census Calculations: CDC Worksheet 1-A for Hourly Calculation of Actual Capacity in Hourly Modules

Name of Module # of Rooms in Module # of Ratio Clusters in each Room Ages of Children in each Cluster # of Spaces in each Ratio Cluster # of Spaces per Room (Group) Actual Capacity of Module (2 Groups)
(A) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G) (H)
Module #6a: Hourly Infant/Pretod Room
Module #6b: Hourly Toddler/PS room
Room 1 A Infant 4 9 26
B PT 5
Room 2 C Tod 7 17
D PS 10
Module #6c: Originally Hourly PS, now a training room Room 1 A PS 10 20 20
B PS 10
Room 2 C
D

 

 

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